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STATEMENT:

We are of a group of community members who formed an ad hoc working group after April 15th when we discovered that when a park is assessed and approved as an off-leash area, "no consultation is required under the People Dogs and Parks Off-Leash Policy, just an information session to discuss Terms of Use". That is a direct quote from Brenda Patterson, General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation. We have discovered since that many other groups throughout the city have also been facing the same struggle in their communities.

We believe that the Parks process, with regard to implementation of this policy, is inherently flawed and has regrettably caused unnecessary conflict and division within our community. This is particularily unfortunate, considering that our community has a strong history of collaboration and consensus on most issues of concern. Community consultation is the key to resolving this issue in a collaborative manner.

We would like to thank the dog owners who have respectfully kept their dogs on-leash until this issue has been resolved, especially over the April 25th weekend when the beautiful weather on Saturday showed how widely our park is in fact used for many different activities by a variety of users.

We have circulated a petition to give voice to those who support our position with regards to rescinding the off-leash designation for LN Park and the need for community consultation. Members of our group have canvassed several buildings in the BQNA, including Windward Coop, Harbourside Coop, Harbour Channel Coop, and Arcadia Coop. Over 200 signatures have been collected in just a few days (including a separate kids petition) and support for reversing the off-leash designation and calling for community consultation has been overwhelming.

We created the website Little NorwayPark.org to draw people's attention to the issue after the information meeting held by Parks on April 15th, which resulted in a situation that we felt required an immediate response. However we would be happy to turn the domain name Little Norway Park over to a broader group such as the "Friends of Little Norway Park" proposed by BQNA. Our interest is the preservation and enhancement of the park for all users.

We welcome an opportunity for further dialogue with the local dog owners' association and look forward to the opportunity to discuss this issue openly, with full information and with respect for all opinions, in the spirit of building consensus within our community. We will support whatever decision comes out of a full community consultation process.

Thank you.