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Courtenay staff researching feasibility of off-leash dog walking area

Courtenay council decided letting a park 'go to the dogs' may be a good thing.

Council directed staff to look into the feasibility of an off-leash dog walking area in Harmston Park — which is located on Harmston Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets — after a motion from Coun. Doug Hillian this week.

Having an off-leash area in Courtenay is "certainly something that I've been hearing about for several years," said Hillian. "It would be a significant asset to our community, and my experience with these areas is that if you do it properly dog owners actually police themselves and take ownership of it."

Coun. Manno Theos pointed out Harmston Park is owned by School District 71, and City director of community services Randy Wiwchar said he would speak with the district as part if council wished to move ahead with the idea.

Hillian's motion noted an off-lease area for dogs is an objective in the City's current strategic plan and "Harmston Park appears ideally suited for this purpose based on size, fencing and low usage otherwise."

Hillian also said he had spoken with some people in the area and most agreed the park is not used very much, however he expects there may be a few people against the idea.

"I know when anything like this is proposed there will be people who feel like it may impact them adversely, but in general, my hope is that there's a favourable response," he said, adding there could be rules, such as hours of operation, to minimize the impact on the neighbourhood.

Council passed the motion unanimously.

• • •

Bylaw amendments to allow a 32-unit housing project on Dingwall Road finally got the green light from council after nearly a year and a half.

Amendments to the Official Community Plan and zoning for a property at 1577 Dingwall Rd. went to a public hearing and received third reading by council in spring of 2011. But City director of development services Peter Crawford noted it took until now for the developer to sort out covenants and statutory right of ways regarding the property.

Both bylaw amendments were finally adopted by council this week with Mayor Larry Jangula opposed.

During the public hearing in April, 2011 six people spoke against the project, with some saying it was too large for the area, and citing traffic and noise concerns among other things.

Crawford noted the project is expected to come before council again as the developer needs to get a development permit.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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