Awareness is being generated before any drastic changes occur to a popular Greater Vernon park.
The BX Community Association has been conducting a survey at BX Ranch Park in the hopes that other activities may occur at the site many residents consider strictly the domain of dogs and their owners.
“We want to get it back to a people park,” said Terry Slobodin, an association director.
“It was never intended as just a dog park.”
In fact, the park used to host community celebrations many years ago but as time went on, the only people using the property have been those wanting to exercise their dogs.
“Once it was let go, it slowly became what it is now,” said Emmy Kennedy, with the association.
“People are afraid to come here because they only see dogs.”
During a recent round of the survey, 162 people filled out a questionnaire. Of those, 156 said they take their dogs to the park while the remainder did not.
Ninety-six stated they were aware that it’s a multi-use park while 65 said they were not.
Virtually all of the respondents want off-the-leash access for dogs and 95 stated they don’t want a smaller, fenced area for dogs.
There was a varying level of support (in order) for washrooms, garbage cans, picnic tables, a playground and an open air shelter.
Ninety-six stated they would attend community events at the park and 55 said they would not.
Slobodin says the association’s goal is to meet the needs of all residents, particularly because there is little public space in the BX.
“We’re not shutting everyone out. We’re trying to accommodate everyone within reason,” she said.
The plans, though, have raised strong emotions for some dog enthusiasts. They worry their pets will come into conflict with people there for a picnic or other activity. It’s also been suggested that non-dog residents have many other recreational opportunities.
“It can all work if we can get together,” sad Slobodin.
The survey results will be sent to the Regional District of North Okanagan.