Victoria council hopes improvements to the Dallas Road waterfront off-leash area will make the location useable for everyone. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria council hopes improvements to the Dallas Road waterfront off-leash area will make the location useable for everyone. (Black Press Media file photo)

Changes to Victoria’s Dallas Road off-leash area aim to make bluff-side path safer

Councillors put $100,000 toward solutions following incidents involving free-roaming dogs

Safety improvements are coming to a part of the Dallas Road waterfront, as the city and Victoria council continue to receive complaints from people who’ve had negative interactions with free-roaming dogs there.

The large off-leash section south of Dallas Road, from Douglas Street to Clover Point, to the pathway along the sea-side bluffs is a popular spot for dog owners. But others telling the city they’ve been injured or knocked over by the unleashed pets while walking along the path has led to councillors putting $100,000 toward changes in the area.

A motion passed unanimously at the Feb. 3 committee of the whole meeting allocates that funding from the city’s building and infrastructure reserve, to a pilot project looking to “reduce conflict and ensure safety, accessibility and enjoyability” in the area.

What exactly will be done is unknown, as council is letting staff take the lead on the project. But the motion said improving pedestrian safety along the waterfront route could include adding benches, sections of split-rail fencing, signage or other options. The direction gave staff some flexibility as an original motion sought $150,000 strictly for continuous split-rail fencing.

The approach hopes to strike a balance between not ruining the openness and other aspects of the location that many users enjoy, while making the pathway section safer and more accessible for seniors and other vulnerable people.

Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe hopes staff get creative with any added materials, in order to save on costs and create playful areas that draw dogs’ attention away from paths.

Coun. Geoff Young noted that while users of the waterfront off-leash zone may not think there’s an issue, councillors hear about incidents constantly.

“Of course if you go down there, you are not going to see people who do not like the current situation because many of them either are afraid or dislike the current situation enough that they don’t use that path,” he said.

Added signage could also help improve public awareness of the existing leash rules, which are being flouted commonly.

Dogs must be on a leash when on the concrete (cliffside) path and anywhere south of it, a requirement that could cost owners between $100 and $300 if they don’t comply.

READ: Report of boater shooting at birds off Saanich Peninsula triggers investigation


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