After a year of work, White Rock officially celebrated the opening of its first off-leash dog park Friday afternoon.
The site, located in Ruth Johnson Park between the playground and the Mel Edwards building, is 37,000 square feet and fenced off from the rest of the area, allowing dogs to run around freely.
"We are pleased to be able to fill this need within our community," said White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin in a statement. "Ruth Johnson Park is an excellent location and their dogs will greatly enjoy this newly-designated off-leash area."
A few days after the park's opening, the space was already being well used by local dog owners.
"I've been in White Rock for eight years and every rule that's been made since I've got here hasn't been dog friendly," said David Cox. "They used to be able to swim at the beach in the wintertime, now they can't. They used to be able to walk on the promenade, now they can't. So I'm really happy about this and I had no idea this was here. This is a great first step."
Cox also praised the area used, saying "Nobody uses this part of the park, so it's a great use of space."
Karen Wiegert, echoed Cox's comments, though noted she would like to see some changes in the future.
"It's going to be shaded in the summer, which is a good thing," she said. "I think they could have gone bigger though. If you're going to have big dogs in here charging around, little ones are going to feel a bit timid."
Wiegert also wondered about the possibility of adding a water tap or fountain for thirsty pooches. Either way, Wiegert is just happy to have an off-leash amenity for her dog so close to home.
"They love to run, that's the thing," she said. "Any dog needs to be off-leash to really run. So your dogs can have a good run around and burn a lot of energy and you can also meet your friends here."
For Bonnie Loeck, the park is a welcome addition to the community, as she usually takes her dogs to Crescent Beach to run around off-leash.
"It's a great thing for dog owners in White Rock," she said.