A 130' X 300' section of green space has been cordoned off north of the Millennium Exhibition Centre (MEC)  in Altona, creating a temporary dog park in the community.
With about 400 dogs currently registered with the Town and a spike in dog ownership in the last two years, Recreation Manager Eric Hildebrand says the pop-up dog park is actually a pilot project he hopes will help gauge demand for a possible permanent facility in the future.

"It'll be here for July and August, and we hope the community comes out to check it out and to use it," said Hildebrand.

"Currently, we don't have a fenced-in area where pet owners have a place to take their dogs to exercise and socialize them," he added, "we thought this would be a great way to test out the concept. We've seen them in other communities, we know they've been received very well and this is a way to find out how it will be received in our community."

Located adjacent to one of two designated, non-fenced off-leash dog areas in town, the pop-up dog park has been constructed using portable fence sections owned by the Town and it includes existing trees, a large grass area and a gated entry system. Hildebrand explained it is intended to uphold the concerns of non-dog owners while being inclusive to the needs of dog owners.

According to Hildebrand, there have been concerns, like trespassing, raised regarding the non-fenced off-leash dog area behind the MEC with nearby residential properties, as well as the enjoyment of others in the community's other parks (Centennial Park & Ash Park).

The hope, he added, is that this pop-up dog park will provide a safe space for dog owners to allow their dogs to play off-leash, and provide an opportunity to educate pet owners about the Town's "Animal Control" Bylaw 1781/2019 enabling dog owners to excel, offer a temporary space where dog owners can have their dogs off-leash while also maintaining the integrity of other park facilities, and supply a space to promote community building through similar dog-related interests.

Pet owners are encouraged to check out the temporary dog park and offer up feedback.

"We want to find out if they think this is a space they are going to use, how many times they might use it on a weekly basis and of course, comments/suggestions whether it be positive or negative. The only way to know if this is something that the community is really looking for is to gather information from the community," said Hildebrand.

There is a QR code on the sign by the dog park that links people to a brief survey on the Town of Altona website. Some dog-related prizes will be made available for people who fill out the survey. The Town's Animal Control by-law officer will also visit the space periodically to speak with people using it, and checking for dog licences and reward those that have the proper licence displayed.

Hildebrand noted future pop-up spaces could include a section dedicated to smaller dogs.