Emery Barnes Park dog off-leash area renewal & proposed expansion

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Photo of dog by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

Share your thoughts about a renewal and proposed expansion of the off-leash area at Emery Barnes Park.

The Vancouver Park Board approved the People, Parks and Dogs (PPD) Strategy in 2017, to help deliver carefully designed parks that accommodate park users with and without dogs. The strategy identified Downtown as being in need of additional and renewed off-leash areas (OLAs) to support the high number of licensed dogs in the neighbourhood. Improvements to the OLA are necessary to withstand the impacts of daily use and to accommodate the growing number of dogs in the area.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey. The survey for the first round of engagement is now closed and results will be posted in November.

Why renew Emery Barnes dog off-leash area?

The People, Parks & Dogs Strategy identified Downtown as a high priority neighbourhood in need of new and renewed dog off-leash areas. As one of the most highly used OLAs in Vancouver, it is essential to improve the Emery Barnes OLA to withstand frequent and heavy use. Due to a growing population of dogs in Downtown, an expansion of the OLA is also being proposed in order to further accommodate the high number of dogs using this space.

The following information in the PPD strategy helped to identify Emery Barnes Park as an off-leash area in need of renewal:

  • Prioritize under-served and densely populated neighbourhoods
  • Downtown was identified as a high priority neighbourhood
  • Provide access to neighbourhood dog off-leash areas within an approximate 15 minute walk of most Vancouver residents
  • Provide a variety of dog off-leash areas
  • Compatibility with existing park uses

Given the limited space in the downtown core for new off-leash areas, it is important to renew and enhance existing facilities to accommodate the growing number of dogs in the city. With your feedback, we hope to create a safe and engaging park space for people with and without dogs.

Share your thoughts about a renewal and proposed expansion of the off-leash area at Emery Barnes Park.

The Vancouver Park Board approved the People, Parks and Dogs (PPD) Strategy in 2017, to help deliver carefully designed parks that accommodate park users with and without dogs. The strategy identified Downtown as being in need of additional and renewed off-leash areas (OLAs) to support the high number of licensed dogs in the neighbourhood. Improvements to the OLA are necessary to withstand the impacts of daily use and to accommodate the growing number of dogs in the area.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey. The survey for the first round of engagement is now closed and results will be posted in November.

Why renew Emery Barnes dog off-leash area?

The People, Parks & Dogs Strategy identified Downtown as a high priority neighbourhood in need of new and renewed dog off-leash areas. As one of the most highly used OLAs in Vancouver, it is essential to improve the Emery Barnes OLA to withstand frequent and heavy use. Due to a growing population of dogs in Downtown, an expansion of the OLA is also being proposed in order to further accommodate the high number of dogs using this space.

The following information in the PPD strategy helped to identify Emery Barnes Park as an off-leash area in need of renewal:

  • Prioritize under-served and densely populated neighbourhoods
  • Downtown was identified as a high priority neighbourhood
  • Provide access to neighbourhood dog off-leash areas within an approximate 15 minute walk of most Vancouver residents
  • Provide a variety of dog off-leash areas
  • Compatibility with existing park uses

Given the limited space in the downtown core for new off-leash areas, it is important to renew and enhance existing facilities to accommodate the growing number of dogs in the city. With your feedback, we hope to create a safe and engaging park space for people with and without dogs.

  • Why renew Emery Barnes off-leash area?

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    The People, Parks & Dogs Strategy (2017) identified Downtown as a high priority neighbourhood in need of new and renewed dog off-leash areas. As one of the most highly used OLAs in Vancouver, it is essential to improve the Emery Barnes OLA to withstand frequent and heavy use. Due to a growing population of dogs in Downtown, an expansion of the OLA is also being proposed in order to further accommodate the high number of dogs using this space.

    The following information in the PPD strategy helped to identify Emery Barnes Park as an off-leash area in need of renewal:

    • Prioritize under-served and densely populated neighbourhoods
    • Downtown was identified as a high priority neighbourhood
    • Provide access to neighbourhood dog off-leash areas within an approximate 15 minute walk of most Vancouver residents
    • Provide a variety of dog off-leash areas
    • Compatibility with existing park uses


    Given the limited space in the downtown core for new off-leash areas, it is important to renew and enhance existing facilities to accommodate the growing number of dogs in the city. With your feedback, we hope to create a safe and engaging park space for people with and without dogs.

  • What's not working

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    supporting image

    Reviewing successes and challenges in dog off-leash areas helps us identify what is working well, and where strategies are most needed to facilitate sharing limited park space and to minimize conflicts. Here are some of the challenges at Emery Barnes OLA

    • Limited options for play and enrichment for dogs
    • Few options for dogs to separate into different areas
    • Surfacing that causes maintenance challenges and safety concerns
    • Odours from dog-waste


    Images of existing condition:


  • What is being proposed

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    supporting image

    As one of the most highly used off-leash areas (OLAs) in Vancouver, it is essential to improve the Emery Barnes OLA to withstand frequent and heavy use. Due to a growing population of dogs in Downtown, an expansion of the OLA is also being proposed in order to further accommodate the high number of dogs using this space. Some of the improvements that are being proposed include:

    • Universal access and improved space/amenities to make the off-leash area more appealing
    • Suitable and durable surfacing
    • Clear and legible boundaries between park uses
    • Amenities to support people and dogs who use the off-leash area
    • A possible expansion of the off-leash area

    The People, Parks and Dogs strategy (PPDS) provides examples of five types of dog off-leash areas. These five different types of OLAs across the city provide dogs and their guardians a variety of off-leash opportunities. Recommendations are identified for the size, surface materials, amenities, boundary tools and circulation patterns for each of the five proposed types of dog off-leash area. Below are the recommendations for a "Neighbourhood Urban dog off-leash area" like Emery Barnes (PPDS, p.21 - 24):


  • About the People, Parks and Dogs Strategy

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    About the People, Parks and Dogs Strategy

    The People, Parks & Dogs Strategy (2017) provides a framework to deliver well-planned and designed parks with dog off-leash areas that ensure the comfort and safety of all park users with recommendations within four themes – access, design, stewardship and enforcement. Through mapping and analysis, the strategy identified six neighbourhoods considered deficient in dog off-leash areas. Through this strategy, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is committed to providing equitable access across the city and improving access to OLAs.

    Public engagement is an important part in implementing the recommendations of the strategy. Input from all park users will help to ensure the successful renewal of this well-used amenity, while supporting a safe and comfortable experience for all park users, with and without dogs.

    In an effort to provide equitable distribution of OLAs within the city, the locations for new OLAs are determined based on the prioritization of underserved areas as defined in the strategy. Areas identified as highest priority based on combined assessments and ranked in order of priority by survey respondents were:

    • 47% Kitsilano
    • 45% Mount Pleasant
    • 35% Downtown
    • 33% West End
    • 32% Grandview-Woodland
    • 19% Fairview
Page last updated: 18 October 2021, 09:29