Rollo could have fenced-in dog area

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, March 8 2016

The Parks and Open Spaces Advisory Committee (POSAC) has requested staff work with FIDO (Fenced In Dogs Off-leash) to move forward in turning the unused portion of Rollo McClay Park into a designated off-leash park and training area for dogs.

Heather Anfossie spoke on behalf of the group.

She explained the idea is to create a large cleared area for dogs to run around, with some paths and agility features built in.

The entire area would be fenced in.

Currently, all of Gabriola, under the Regional District of Nanaimo bylaws, is considered off-leash. There is no requirement on Gabriola to have a dog on a leash, except in the three provincial parks (Sandwell, Gabriola Sands/Twin Beaches and Drumbeg).

While all of Gabriola is technically off-leash, some of the dog owners on Gabriola have sought to have an area designated specifically for off-leash training and playing with dogs.

The area being considered would be is north-west of the main parking lot, and west of the upper ball field service road.

In all, it would be 2.4 acres in size, fully fenced in.

The plan is to use sheep from one of the FIDO members to clear out the underbrush, and then further clear the smaller trees in the area.

Prior to moving ahead with any clearing though, Anfossie said she believed the group would need to do a survey of islanders to gauge support, before going to a public meeting.

Regional Director Howard Houle said POSAC would first have to approve staff working on the concept, in conjunction with FIDO members.

Part of that would then be conducting an open house to see what the community has to say about the proposal.

Anfossie asked what sort of timeframe that work would be on.

Houle said it would have to go into the staff work plan and, at this time, he had no idea what that might look like.

“But you have this along quite a ways.”

He said there are a number of large mature trees in the area which he would like to see kept in place.