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Letters  

Loves Summerland dog park

Re: Summerland's Peach Orchard Dog Park

If the trial period of the Peach Orchard Dog park (in Summerland) has demonstrated anything, it’s how much of a success this park is.

Many, many families are now able to enjoy a suitable park space that they pay taxes for, but until now, did not exist in Summerland. Geese no longer proliferate in the field leaving their disease-carrying waste. Instead of the field being filthy and unused, it is now cleaner and enjoyed by many year-round.

When the few vocal complainers demand the dog park be shut down and “returned to the people,” make no mistake, what is really being asked is that it be returned to the birds and left empty and unused.

The reality is people are actually using and enjoying the park as it is right now. Dog parks are inclusive, they serve all ages, all income levels and all social classes. You don’t even need a dog, and you are still welcome.

It is amazing how much of a fuss is made over the cost, when at $65,000, the dog park is a recreation amenity bargain. It’s less than the $75,000 being spent to redo the irrigation at the Snow Avenue baseball diamonds, and far less than the $154,000 being spent to improve the boat launch parking next door.

The boat launch serves a shockingly small number of residents for no fees and has its own concerns, but there seems to be no problem spending a substantially larger amount servicing these and other users. While the boat launch is decidedly seasonal, the dog park is now one of the most popular year-round recreational green spaces in Summerland.

Peach Orchard Dog park has demonstrated it is a higher and better use of this public space and serves a critical need that has been missing in our community for decades. Its central location and accessible surface serve many residents, and its large, fully fenced grass surface provides a safe place to exercise for multiple dogs who need space to run and fetch.

Visitors rave about what a high-quality facility it is and plan their road trips to include visiting it.

This park brings people together outside in the fresh air, creates friendships and builds community bonds. Is that not the purpose of community parks?

Back in 2016 our hand-signed petition gathered more than 450 signatures before any dog park even existed. Our current hand-signed petition now has more than 900 signatures from people who have visited the park in person and support the dog park.

Unlike the anti-dog park online petition, these are all actual users, resident taxpayers and visitors who are invested in keeping this community amenity.

A park as popular as this new dog park is not only a clear win, but compared to how money in other park services is spent per user, it is a bargain and success story.

Robert Hacking,
Summerland Dog Owners Association



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