The riding ring in Agassiz will soon also be the location of a much-needed off leash dog park.

Agassiz park opens for dogs

Riding ring location chosen for off-leash pilot project in District of Kent

Dog owners in Agassiz will soon have a place to let their dogs run off leash.

This week, changes were being made to the riding ring at Centennial Park near the Fitness Activity Centre to accommodate dogs as well as horses.

The change comes after much discussion throughout the community, said Kerry Hilts, community, recreation and parks services manager for the District of Kent.

“We’ve had a lot of requests for an off leash dog park,” he said. At the same time, use at the riding ring has been sporadic and dwindling.

There are five members of the riding ring, who pay a membership to use the 1-acre area. Sometimes there are no riders in the ring for weeks at a time, and other times there may be members there for two or three days in a row.

But in a recent survey that went out to the community, 62 out of 67 respondents indicated that if an off leash dog park were available, they would use it.

The ring will still be available to the current members, and they won’t have to pay their membership fees for the duration of the one-year pilot project. But they will be limited to those days assigned for riding, Hilts said.

Four days will be allocated for dogs, and three for horses and riders, he said. Signs will be put into place outlining the specifics. While it will be an off leash area, dog owners will still be expected to clean up after their pets. A special unleashing area is being constructed near the horse entrance, and special fencing is being added to the outside of the current fence as a measure to keep dogs from escaping.

The fencing will remain the same on the inside, for the comfort of riders.

Public feedback will be crucial to the pilot project, Hilts said, and he hopes to hear from users as the project moves along.