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School District 71, Comox work on formal dog park agreement

The site on unused school district property is already being used by dog owners
Comox and the school district are looking at formalizing a piece of school property for a dog park. Black Press file photo

School District 71 is looking at an agreement to recognize a piece of school land as a dog park in cojunction with the Town of Comox.

Board members responded to a letter from Comox at their most recent board meeting on Nov. 24.

Director of operations Ian Heselgrave provided an overview for the trustees, saying the portion of school property is already being used by dog owners, but an agreement would formalize a relationship with the town.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” he told the board. “It’s been informally used as a dog park for many, many years.”

An agreement would have to spell out certain responsibilities such as having the town finish the fencing, provide bag recepticles and a level of maintenance on the field.

“There’s some divots and patches that have to be repaired,” he said. “That property is under-utilized right now.”

The town contacted the school district in early November about formal permission to establish the park on the site, which is not being used by the district. The Nov. 4 letter notes the area sits within a network of local neighbourhoods. The request also says the surface material on site is ideal for a dog park. A map shows the location as the corner of the block at the intersection of Wallace Avenue and Gladstone Street.

“I think that the idea of a dog park is excellent because I know that the Town of Comox has talked about having a place,” said trustee Janice Caton.

RELATED STORY: Comox council turning to public for feedback on possible dog parks

She asked about liability, though, in the event of a dog attack on a person or other animal.

“It is our property,” she said. “We are working in partnership with them…. At the end of the day, who’s responsible?”

Heselgrave responded that the school district would enter into a memorandum of understanding agreement with the town, adding that the town would cover indemnificartion costs for the district. The agreement would also set out other issues such as the town’s covering costs for operation and maintenance, cancellation clauses and compensation terms.

The board passed a motion to direct staff to work with the Town of Comox staff on the agreement for the dog park at the old elementary school site.

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