Regarding Planning for the Area South of Carpenter Creek
Including Locating an All-Wheels Park and Off-Leash Dog Area
Village of New Denver staff and Council have recently received a variety of correspondence and presentations from area residents about planning for the area south of Carpenter Creek, a dog park or off-leash dog walking area, and an all-wheels skills park. We do not have contact information for everyone who presented, so we would like to share this message publicly. We have also heard from a number of community members concerned that the development of an all-wheels park is being questioned; this update is intended to inform them as well.
Once you have reviewed the following, if you have questions or comments, please direct your inquiries to Village staff by emailing email@example.com or calling the Village office at 250-358-2316.
Planning for the Area Between Kildare & Josephine Streets
All-Wheels Park: A new all-wheels park (sometimes referred to as a skills park or pump track) is planned for construction in the area south of Carpenter Creek, between Kildare Street and Josephine Street. Funding has been received to proceed with this project, in this location, and design is underway. This location was included in the Centennial Park Plan and received public support through that planning process.
The Mountain Bike Committee of the North Slocan Trails Society (NSTS) is coordinating this project and the Village continues to support and work with this Committee.
This location has been chosen for a number of reasons, including that it is open space the Village has access to and is able to give permission to the NSTS for this use, and that it is an area well suited to park use being that it is near Centennial Park and all its amenities, it is within easy biking distance to most New Denver amenities and residences, it is large enough to accommodate the desired skill building course, there is room in the vicinity for expansion, and there is an existing vegetation buffer between the venue and residences. Please see below for information about consideration of alternative locations. Importantly, as mentioned above, the community expressed significant support for this location through the Centennial Park Master Plan public input process.
Off-Leash Dog Walking: The area south of Carpenter Creek and west of Highway 6 has, in recent years, been available for off-leash dog walking. While some area residents have submitted that they would like to see this space remain available for off-leash dog walking, it has been identified through recent review and planning that this is not good land use. This lot is, however, large enough that it can more than adequately accommodate the all-wheels park and retain a sizeable off-leash dog walking area.
Many people have been incorrectly referring to the area as a dog park. The main difference between a dog park and an off-leash area is fencing. A dog park is an area fully enclosed or fenced and dedicated to dog owners for exercising and allowing dogs to play. Allowing dogs to be leash-free in a mixed use and active transportation corridor is not practical, safe, or responsible. Having the leash-free area west of Josephine Street reduces the need for fencing, allowing it to still be an open area while separating the leash-free area from other uses with natural boundaries and some fencing. If an area south of Carpenter Creek and east of Josephine Street were to remain available for off-leash use, it would need to be fully fenced.
Rather than create a fenced dog park in the area south of Carpenter Creek and east of Josephine Street, the Centennial Park Master Plan identifies an off-leash area west of Josephine Street (please refer to p.34 of the Centennial Park Master Plan, available on the Village’s website under Reports and Studies, or via THIS LINK). The Centennial Park Master Plan also includes in its list of Guiding Principles: “provide an off-leash location for dog owners within or outside of the park.”
Some have pointed out that the area west of Josephine Street is not big enough, open enough, or accessible enough. That is because this area is not currently developed for this use. There are no off-leash area details provided in the Centennial Park Master Plan because detailed planning has not yet occurred. Here are some potential improvements that would make this area suitable for off-leash dog walking – note that all improvements would occur above the highwater marks of Slocan Lake and Carpenter Creek:
- Development of parking along the marina access road – gravel surface.
- Installation of a gate at the entrance of the service road that leads beyond the marina entrance to the cell phone tower and TV and radio satellites. This will allow the service road to become a trail, used only occasionally by service vehicles only.
- Discussions with the Slocan Lake Boating Association have begun, and will continue, to review a specific boundary around the northwestern end of the marina. Fencing can be installed to separate marina parking from the off-leash dog area. The off-leash dog area would be contained to the west by the natural boundary of Slocan Lake and to the north by Carpenter Creek. The off-leash dog area would be entirely above the highwater marks of both of these waterbodies. This doesn’t limit the use of the flood plain as additional off-leash area, as is currently used, it just isn’t formally recognized. Walking a dog off-leash anywhere requires a responsible dog owner attentive to their surroundings and everyone’s needs.
- Soil can be brought in to level ground where it is currently rocky and uneven. See the two images below, taken in the area proposed for off-leash dog walking, for an example of ground that can be levelled with the addition of fill, made suitable for accessible trails and dog play.
- Amenities such as benches, garbage cans, and signage can be installed.
- A cleared area for playing fetch can be created.
- If there is an interest on the part of users to install amenities such as agility training features, shade features, or other improvements, these could be pursued.
Permission to Use the Land: The lease the Village has with the Province for Lot 1 of District Lots 432 and 549, Plan 8877, which is the land on the south side of the creek between Highway 6 and Slocan Lake, is for the whole lot, less the license of occupation for the CBC tower and restrictions imposed by a BC Hydro Right of Way. A portion of the lot, known as the marina, is sublet to the Slocan Lake Boating Association and there are areas dedicated to cell phone and TV Society infrastructure. The use of this lot as described in the lease is for recreation. It is not identified as environmental reserve. Provincial Authorities (both Dike Inspector under the Dike Maintenance Act and Crown Land Authorizations) do not have any concerns with the Village’s intentions to collaborate with the North Slocan Trails Society to proceed with development of an all-wheels park in the intended location.
Planning for Leash-Free Use: Four former Councillors wrote to clarify that it was their intention, in 2006, for a leash-free area to span from Highway 6 to Slocan Lake, south of Carpenter Creek. In this letter, they pointed out that the move was made based on a Councillor’s suggestion and Council conversation after they received one letter from one community member asking for the leash law to be enforced.
This Council, supported by staff and consultants, is making a plan for the area that considers not only the Centennial Park Plan and Active Transportation Plan but also years of input including, for example, that youth want more to do in town, that they want skate parks and skills parks and recreational opportunities and places to hang out, that attracting and retaining families is important, and yes, even that some people are scared to walk in a public corridor where dogs are allowed off-leash, as is currently the case. Note that in 2005 a Petition in Support of a Free Community Skatepark was submitted to the Village, along with a proposal including design recommendations, prices, and suggested locations, but nothing materialized. Proceeding with development of an all-wheels park at this time is the culmination of years of requests and consideration.
The Village is moving forward with a plan for this area that is progressive and inclusive. We intend to maintain an area where people can still walk their dogs off-leash. We do not intend to create a fenced-in dog park in the location assigned to the all-wheels park to accommodate this. As submitted by many residents, we live in an area where there are a large number of places to walk a dog but little well developed, accessible recreational infrastructure.
Consideration of Alternative Locations for an All-Wheels Park
Carpenter Creek between Highway 6 and Kildare Street: The majority of this space is not within the Crown lease, and it contains a Village of New Denver watermain. The remainder would not allow for sufficient space for development of an all-wheels park.
Block 50, at the Eastern End of Slocan Avenue by the Vault Toilet: This location is not a viable option. The Village does not hold a lease for this property, and specifically, not a recreation use lease. Beyond that, it is not large enough for the type of all-wheels park proposed and there would be no room for expansion, seating, shelter, adjacent playgrounds or other activities.
Lucerne Elementary Secondary School: Lucerne School’s lower field contains a septic field and their upper field is used for gym activities like soccer, baseball, running, etc. Further, the Village does not own this property. Grant funding sponsors would not be in favour of building this infrastructure on a property that is owned by the School District, which would then essentially own and control the infrastructure and access to it. Limiting public access to an all-wheels park to after school hours would not be practical and a venue for the community, including youth, should be a place everyone can feel a sense of ownership and pride over, not a shared school use with accompanying school restrictions.
Within Centennial Park: During the Centennial Park Master Plan planning process and public consultations, we heard from the community that they were in favour of minimizing development in Centennial Park, maintaining flexible open greenspace, moving the southern campsites north, and constructing a stage adjacent to the lake. (Note that the Village has since received Columbia Basin Trust funding allowing the design and construction of this stage to take place). Incorporating these requests and components into Centennial Park does not allow room for development of an all-wheels park within Centennial Park.
South of Carpenter Creek and West of Josephine Street: Although members of North Slocan Trails Society had been interested in this area for development of an all-wheels park, there are several limiting factors here. A BC Hydro Right of Way running west from Josephine Street to the CBC Licence of Occupation restricts development in this location. In order to accommodate an all-wheels park, the service road in the area would need to be moved, which would likely result in the elimination of approximately 10 campsites in Centennial Campground. It would also negate the potential for a pet-friendly beach north of the marina and require removal of a significant number of mature trees. There would be minimal, if any, room for future expansion in this location.
Denver Siding: A municipal boundary extension was completed in July 2021 resulting in Denver Siding properties being included in the Village of New Denver’s boundaries. Two of the properties in Denver Siding, north and east of the YRB highways maintenance yard, are Village owned; one of the properties contains a former landfill site. The Village is currently exploring the potential for development on the property that previously contained a landfill but it will be some time and expense before it is possible to proceed. Further, the Village has not yet revised its OCP and Zoning Bylaw to apply to this area, so planning for development here is premature.
Access to these Village owned properties in Denver Siding is limiting. The elevation makes them significantly more challenging to ride your bike to, which limits inclusive access, and they are away from the community’s core, reducing visibility and increasing the chances of vandalism or misuse, and reducing potential for economic spinoff for local business.
Please be careful about where you are getting your information. Letters to the editor and door to door petitioners may not have accurate facts. Village staff are always willing to answer your questions and certainly have the community’s best interests in mind, as does Council. As the mayor stated previously, we cannot make every community member happy about every decision made, but we can do our best to create community spaces that benefit everyone.
If you have questions about the information provided above, please inquire with staff by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 250-358-2316.