Newton’s move to ‘bark park’ has some dog owners howling over city’s temporary fix at Unwin Park

Some Newton-area residents aren’t happy that a “bark park” for dogs has moved to a new temporary home in Unwin Park.

Since 2016, an off-leash zone has been attracting dog owners to the corner of 135 Street and 70A Avenue, where the new Newton Community Center will be built over the next three years.

About 750 yards away, City Hall has fenced off land at 68th Avenue and 134th Street for another barkyard, but the location, among other issues, has some dog owners howling.

“It’s not acceptable, it’s just too small and in the wrong place,” complained Esterina Marziale, who runs a pet sitting service. “The fence is too low for large dogs, who could jump over it and run into traffic. We need a five-foot fence, and this plastic isn’t good enough. It must be chained.

“I would never bring my dogs here, for all these reasons.”

City staff say the new location brings the off-leash area to a more central location in Newton.

Additionally, the original Bark Park was established six years ago “as a temporary measure on private property/vacant land to encourage positive activities on undeveloped land,” according to a statement from the Parks Department. , leisure and culture of the city.

Newton has five off-leash zones for dogs, but the one on 135th Street was the most popular with residents of the nearby Greenbrook building run by BC Housing, including dog owner Courtney Abraham.

“The other dog park was awesome, and everyone helped build it and it was good for people in the community,” Abraham said of letting his dog Riddick run free at the new Unwin site. “There (on 135 Avenue) there are less prostitutes now and less condoms and drugs, needles, on the ground, less camping, because the land was used for that before.”

“It’s a longer walk here. I will not be using this park.

Some of his concerns are echoed by fellow dog owner Parm Singh. “This fence is nothing, there are big dogs that will jump on it,” he said while walking near the Unwin site with his dog, Tyson.

Surrey Parks Manager Neal Aven said the height of the fence is standard for off-leash parks in the city and stressed that the Unwin Park site is temporary.

“This fence is different because we recognize that this is a short-term solution – temporary, of course,” Aven told the Now-Leader. “We have a medium-term plan to revisit the whole of Unwin Park. On the west side, for example, there are a bunch of plots that have become parks over the years, but nothing has ever been there. We need to take a holistic look at the entire park, which would include looking at where an off-leash area is located, it may be the area, or we could set it up in a different location . »

Marziale is frustrated that the 135 Avenue bark playpen was taken away from dog owners after six years of use.

“This park (on 135 Avenue) represents over five years of my life – I was there when the ribbon was cut and I was also mowing the grass. We wanted it to stay there and be part of the new community center , but here we are.

“There’s no street parking here and the grass is really bad too,” she said of the Unwin site.

“They say it’s temporary,” Marziale added, “but it could be three, four or five years before a new one is built here. They’re going to revamp the park and possibly create a dog park, but now we’re stuck with that.

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