The City of Revelstoke is proposing to eliminate the off-leash dog walking area that runs from Centennial Park and extends through the Downie Marsh all the way to the new Illecillewaet River footbridge. The proposed change is the biggest reduction proposed in an overhaul of the designated off-leash areas in the city.
The plan also proposes minor tweaking of boundaries to some existing off-leash areas and significantly expanded new areas in the Big Eddy and on the south shore of the Illecillewaet River.
City planning director John Guenther is scheduled to present a report on the proposed changes to city council at their April 10 meeting. “We’ll be doing public outreach on this. This isn’t settled,” Guenther told the Times Review. “We’re laying [it] out right now for people to look at and we’re proposing more restrictions on off-leash areas,” he said.
Guenther’s report says the city has received complaints over the existing area that includes the wetlands in Downie Marsh. He anticipates “an interesting dialogue” and noted lots of “hot buttons.”
The maps outlined in the April 10 agenda package outline changes to all seven off-leash areas:
Westside Road – The existing strip along Westside Road across the Columbia River from the Revelstoke Golf Course is shifted down to the shore along the river.
Highway 23/Trans-Canada Junction – This smaller area just north of the junction is expanded and shifted away from the road and would now extend to the shore of the Columbia River.
Big Eddy Dike – The existing long strip is just to the north of the dike pathway. It will be greatly expanded to include the area all the way to the Columbia River.
Centennial Park to Illecillewaet Bridge – The entire area from the Revelstoke Workers Memorial to the Illecillewaet footbridge is eliminated. However, the area from the footbridge to the Airport Way bridge over the Illecillewaet River remains. The paved pathway is not currently “off-leash” and no changes are proposed.
Illecillewaet River south shore – Currently, a thin strip on the south bank of the river is off-leash. This will be greatly expanded southward towards the foreshore of the Cashato Bench. *The maps included in the presentation don’t show exactly where the proposed southernmost boundary is. (*Clarification: The previous sentence was based on paper maps provided to the Times Review. The digital maps show the boundary extends to the southern end of the Revelstoke Airport.)
Powerhouse Road – An existing area at the end of Powerhouse Road is shifted slightly, but remains largely the same.
Although it’s not presented in the staff report, Guenther said that a new fenced dog area at Centennial Park would be part of the discussion. A fenced dog park is one of about a dozen proposed new recreation facilities outlined in the recently-approved City of Revelstoke parks and recreation plan.
Guenther said there was a small parcel between a baseball diamond and the Downie Timber lot that was being considered. “There’s a little spot in there where we could put in an enclosed dog park,” Guenther said.
On Monday morning a group of four walkers and three dogs were out for a stroll near the entrance to the waterfront grasslands at the Revelstoke Workers Memorial. When told about the changes, they had more questions than reactions.
What was the reason behind the ban? If it was for the bird habitat, they wondered if the ban could be seasonal so dogs could be allowed during winter months.
In general, they were more or less not supportive of the change.
They also noted lack of clear signage or enforcement on the paved waterfront walkway. Although there is a sign, it demands dog owners pick up after their dogs, but doesn’t say dogs must be on a leash. A cartoonish dog graphic does include a leash, but it’s sort of obscured by the dog’s inexplicably windblown ears. The graphic certainly leaves wiggle room for anyone seeking to ignore the off-leash ban on the walkway.
They agreed nobody liked it when owners didn’t pick up after their dogs.
***What do you think? Check out the plan in item “9f” in this city council meeting agenda document, then provide us with your feedback on the proposal by commenting below.