Strategy recommends new approach to share Saanich parks

May 30, 2023

Information bulletin  
For immediate release


Strategy recommends new approach to share Saanich parks

Saanich, BC – The District of Saanich has released its draft People, Pets and Parks Strategy following a 16-month community engagement and planning process to determine a framework for sharing Saanich parks among all users.  

Saanich’s consultant, Lees and Associates, examined many aspects to develop the strategy including increasing park and outdoor amenity usage; community expectations; conflicting park uses; park management requirements; and environmental impacts, especially given that Saanich is home to some of BC’s most unique and rare species-at-risk and ecosystems.

The feedback received through public engagement emphasized the importance that the strategy recommendations recognize the needs of different park users while protecting natural areas and habitat. The feedback also emphasized there is a need for parks to accommodate different types of pets/dogs depending on size, behaviour, level of training, age, and mental state.

Ultimately, Saanich parks are for everyone. Pets are a welcome part of the community, and both people and pets benefit from outdoor recreation and use of public parks. The strategy will help achieve a balanced approach for sharing Saanich parks.

Recommendation highlights

A notable recommendation within the strategy is updates to the Animal Bylaw that would require dogs to be on-leash at all times, except in designated leash optional areas or fenced, leash-optional dog parks. Saanich’s current Animal Bylaw allows dogs off-leash under owner control in all parks unless otherwise specified.

Fifty-seven of Saanich’s parks are identified to accommodate potential leash-optional/under control areas either with no-fencing, full-fencing, or trails. Of these 57 parks, 12 have been identified for permanent, fenced leash-optional areas: Brodick, Cuthbert Holmes, Emily Carr, Hyacinth, Houlihan, Lambrick, Layritz, PKOLS (Mount Douglas Park), Rainbow, Regina, Rudd and Sierra Parks.

Cordova Bay beach has been identified for designated year-round, leash optional beach access. All other beaches in Saanich would be on-leash year-round with no seasonal restrictions.

The strategy also calls for increased education and enforcement, stewardship and operational maintenance. The strategy proposes that Saanich develop and implement a commercial dog walker permit, like the permit used by the Capital Regional District.

Next steps

The third and final round of public engagement is underway to share the draft strategy. An online feedback form is available until midnight June 11. The feedback received will help with updates to the final strategy.

The final strategy will be presented to Council June 26, 2023.

Learn more

Visit to read the draft strategy, watch a recording of the May 29 virtual information session, sign up for email notifications, and fill out the online feedback form.


Media contact:
Myles Dolphin
Communications Advisor