Every dog will now be able to have its day romping freely around the trails adjacent to the burial area in Shuswap Memorial Cemetery.
Although city council began the process to turn the whole cemetery property at 2700 20th Ave. SE into a dog-on-leash park after complaints were expressed about dogs roaming through burial ceremonies, plans have changed.
Council received a letter from Gloria Makey and signed by 11 other residents. The letter expressed a wish for community input and a regret that the behaviour of those who don’t control their dogs would negatively affect all the responsible dog walkers. It also expressed concern that by limiting off-leash areas, the current ones will be overrun and become unsafe.
Council agreed with the concerns and decided to explore the option of requiring dogs on-leash in the area specific to the cemetery while allowing dogs off-leash on the trail network.
City staff then contacted the petitioners to see if they would be satisfied with the plan – and they were.
On March 9, council voted unanimously to defeat the first bylaw.
Then a new bylaw was given three readings, requiring dogs on-leash only on the 20-acre cemetery portion.
A report to council from Kevin Pearson, the city’s director of development services states: “The concerns of the petitioners are understood. The trail network around the cemetery seems like an appropriate place for dog walking and running provided the animals are in the care and control of their owners.
“Public safety, and the protection of sensitive burial areas, citizens and cemetery contractors remain a priority to staff. It is hoped that a new bylaw would provide a balance to these interests.”
Council thanked staff for working with the public and then voted unanimously in favour of the new parks regulation amendment bylaw. Mayor Alan Harrison and Coun. Tim Lavery were absent.