Above: Fuller with her dog, Indie.
Erin Fuller is happy for her dog Indie and for many other Lower Lonsdale dog owners who finally got what Fuller had lobbied for the last four years.
The City of North Vancouver is allocating $250,000 for an off-leash dog park in the Lower Lonsdale area. Stephanie Smiley, a communications officer with the City of North Vancouver, said the off-leash park is a new project and the city hasn’t yet selected the site.
“The community consultation and planning will help us select an appropriate site, which will happen later this year,” she said. It would help the off-leash dog park planners to talk to Fuller, who has already done that work for them.
Fuller moved to a Lower Lonsdale condo in 2014, and noticed there was no off-leash dog park in the neighbourhood for her senior dog, Cleo, who has since passed away.
While she could certainly take Cleo to the green space close to her condo, but it was a good 15 minutes’ drive just to take her to an off-leash park.
Why couldn’t the city turn the green space close to her home on East 1st street into an off-leash dog park? There were after all a lot of families who lived in their condos with dogs and had next to nothing for an off-leash park.
“There is a quite a bit of density here and a lot of people with dogs want to be able to walk somewhere close, especially with a senior dog who couldn’t walk too much,” she said.
Fuller started an online petition and finally appeared before council to make her case in 2015. She suggested that the green space on East 1st street be fenced and converted into a park. She says the place is already being used as a de-facto off-leash park but fencing it could make it more secure.
Fuller says while the fenced in park would be ideal for dog owners, it would also be a place where dog lovers could interact with each. Another place, Fuller says, that could be an off-leash dog park is the waterfront park, north of the railway lines on Esplanade.
“The city may need to work on the drainage there, and fence it as it is on a busy street, but it can be converted into an off-leash dog park area with these modifications,” she said.
Fuller says these two locations would be ideal for dog-owners and dog lover to meet and socialise, and reduce conflict with other social groups. She hopes the city will get to build the dog parks sooner rather than later.
“I appeared before council four years ago. I want this to happen faster. I hope this gets build within the life span of my dog,” she says.