Going to the dogs

Just how bad is the problem of off-leash dogs in Gates Park and what should be done about it?

“I’m sick of arguing with entitled off-leash dog owners,” resident and labour lawyer Shawn Johnston told Port Coquitlam council Tuesday afternoon.

Johnston described Gates as unsafe for children and uncomfortable for older residents. He also recounted being twice threatened after asking dog owners to leash their roaming pups.

Possible remedies:

  • Noting his own fear of dogs, Coun. Dean Washington suggested more enforcement is necessary. “I’m not into warnings,” he said, explaining his belief that the odds of it being a first offence are “zero.”

Covert patrols:

  • Discussing the tendency of some dog owners to reach for their leashes at the sight of bylaw officers, Coun. Darrell Penner floated the idea that plainclothes bylaw officers might survey the park and take video before handing their findings to uniformed bylaw officers, who would hand out the tickets.

More space, fewer excuses: The solution may be to expand off-leash areas and eliminate conflicts, according to Coun. Glenn Pollock. Noting council’s commitment to a low tax rate, Coun. Laura Dupont suggested revisiting the costs of dog licences to increase such services to pet owners.

  • A social media blitz highlighting the city’s rules could also be helpful, noted Coun. Nancy McCurrach.

Mayor Brad West pledged to discuss the issue in the future.

Current practices:

Port Coquitlam bylaw officers conducted 157 patrols in Gates Park in 2020, handing out six tickets for bylaw infractions. Along with Lions Park, Gates is one of the most patrolled parks in the city.

Nearly 10 years after approving a new office building at 2992 Glen Drive, Coquitlam council approved a bigger, bulkier version of the project Monday.

At 14 storeys, the new building is set to be 80 feet taller than the original proposal. But while Coun. Brent Asmundson lauded the project as “desperately needed” to keep jobs in Coquitlam, the amount of parking in general and accessible parking stalls in particular was a sticking point for other councillors.

More jobs than spots:

Despite being a short walk from Lincoln SkyTrain station, Coun Chris Wilson said he was “just a little bit concerned” about providing 145 parking stalls for a development that’s projected to generate between 250 and 300 jobs.

While city staff assured council the parking would be sufficient, there was less certainty regarding the project’s three accessible parking stalls.

Accessibility

“Three is probably not adequate for a 14-storey building,” said Coun. Bonita Zarrillo.

City staff suggested they could work with the applicant, Cressey Development Group, to potentially add accessible spaces.

“I’ll take it in good faith that Cressey’s listening tonight and they understand that we have an aging population,” Zarrillo said.

Mayor Richard Stewart concurred. “The aging population is a lot older than it was when we first gave you a development permit,” he added.

The building is expected to house dental, medical, legal, accounting, financial and veterinary services, along with ground floor retail. Construction is tentatively slated to wrap up April 2023.

Do you like standing behind a bench with your arms crossed as you angrily chew gum?

The Coquitlam Express may have a job for you as the team looks for a new head coach.

However, while the front office sifts through applications, Adam Nugent-Hopkins has hit the ice as interim coach for the 2020-2021 season.

Meet the new (interim) boss

  • “We needed someone who could jump in right away and be able to provide our players with the highest level of development,” stated Tali Campbell, Express Vice President and General Manager in a press release.

Nugent-Hopkins, who also works as a strength training coach, is the older brother of Edmonton Oilers standout Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

The BCHL Junior A hockey club is coming off a stellar but abbreviated season that saw the Express finish first in the Mainland division and sweep the Langley Rivermen before the season was cancelled.

In Other News

  • Snow flurries could be on the way as an atmospheric river out of Hawaii hits B.C.
  • A dog died following a cougar attack in Port Moody
  • Two big projects – one condo and one townhouse development – are set to come before Coquitlam council.
  • So, about those rumours Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West is planning to run for the B.C. Liberal leadership? “Definitely not,” he told the Tri-Cities Dispatch, calling the speculation “comical.”

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One More Thing

The ruse that snared a rooster.

For two weeks a very free-range rooster led Port Coquitlam staffers on a wild goose chase.

The rooster, affectionally dubbed Dennis the Menace, was spotted strutting and heard crowing in Port Coquitlam’s Mary Hill neighbourhood.

Tired of fielding noise complaints – not to mention chasing the cock of the walk around the block – a Port Coquitlam animal control officer decided they needed a chicken to catch a chicken.

After borrowing a hen from a Maple Ridge farm, a bylaw officer headed to Mary Hill in the hopes of flushing out “this very intelligent rooster,” reported Port Coquitlam director of community safety Dominic Long.

It didn’t take long for the caged hen to intrigue the roving rooster.

Still, Dennis the Menace proved curious and noncommittal, according to Long, who said the bird stood with one foot in the cage and one foot out.

“The bylaw officer, in desperation, actually managed to capture it before it took off again,” Long said.

Both hen and rooster have been relocated to a farm in Maple Ridge, Long said. Dennis, he added, is recovering nicely.

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