Dogs keep run of Esquimalt’s Macaulay Point Park – for now

Situation will be monitored for any damage to protected plant life

Esquimalt council agreed to finalize a five-year renewal for public use of Macaulay Point Park on Monday.

The land is owned by CFB Esquimalt and the agreement represents a shared partnership for maintenance and monitoring going forward.

CFB Esquimalt has implemented several improvements over the past year at the park, including the installation of 900 metres of spilt rail fencing to help protect at-risk plant species. Signs have also been installed to educate park users on the native plants.

Coun. Meagan Brame told staff she received complaints from numerous residents when the fencing was installed, and said there needs to be greater awareness about who owns the land.

“People need to know this is a federally owned park,” she said.

Council authorized $15,000 from its parks operating budget and $57,000 from its parks capital budget to maintain the park and develop an environmental management plan for the area. A staircase to the waterfront is also being considered.

The agreement allows for continued off-leash dog use at the park, but staff warned that any destruction of protected plant species could put an end to that.

“Should this restriction fail to result in the level of protection required at the site, CFB Esquimalt could completely ban dogs from the site,” the report stated.

Parks staff will be responsible for conservation efforts, while military police will patrol the park, staff said.

dpalmer@vicnews.com