Dog owners living downtown are getting a reprieve when it comes to losing their an off-leash dog park in the area to development.
Currently, the proposed Central Green site, the former home to the old Kelowna Senior Secondary at the corner of Richter Street and Harvey Avenue, is designated as a temporary off-lease dog park.
But on Monday, City Council approved plans for a new community park on the site that will include a permanent off-leash dog park.
City manager of parks and public spaces Terry Barton told council, plans for the proposed Rowcliffe Community Park will include a small off-leash dog area, as well a large grass common green, walking paths, a heritage plaza, community gardens, a playground and washrooms.
“This area (around the Central Green property) has the highest density of residential in the city but is under served when it comes to parks,” Barton told council Monday.
And he said because relocating off-leash dog parks can be controversial, it was felt it best to leave the one that currently exists in the same location.
The portion of the park reserved for dogs — to be located at the corner of Rowcliffe Avenue and Richter Street—would be fenced and about 100 metres long and 50 metres wide at its widest section. According to initial drawings of the site, It would taper to about two metres wide in one corner.
The $3.9 million Rowcliffe Community Park would occupy about one third of the six-hectare Central Green site.
The final design for the park has yet to be completed and money for the park has not been fully budgeted, said Barton. A construction schedule has yet to be determined but work would not likely start until next year. The entire construction could be phased over several years.
The city wants to see the Central Green site developed with housing but after years on the market, no developers have shown any interest.
And even former Mayor Sharon Shepherd, when she was in office, said she does not expect building on the site will occur for many years.
The site currently sits vacant.