Almost any day in any Vancouver park you’ll run into dogs and their owners. Some behaving badly, running off leash where they shouldn’t, while others respect the rules. However, before you leap to conclusions and blame the dog owners for showing a lack of respect, take a closer look at the signs. We did.

In the heart of downtown’s Emery Barnes Park you’ll be greeted by a sign that says “Dog Off-Leash Area.” At another corner of the park you’ll see a different sign saying “On-Leash Park.” But just 100 feet away is another one that states: “No Dogs Allowed,” and in smaller print underneath “within 15m of playground” and opposite that sign is one that points you to an “Off leash park.”

Confusing and conflicting signs in Emery Barnes Pa

Mike Stone was playing with his dog off leash in the park so we walked up to him and pointed out the signs.

“A little confusing, eh?” Stone stated.

That’s why we asked Erin Embley with the Vancouver Park Board to meet us in the park. We walked the perimeter to point out the signs and they asked her what she thought about them.

“We agree the signs are confusing for many people and right now leading to a lot of non- compliance,” Embley stated, staring up at the off-leash park sign. She pointed out it was meant to imply there is a fenced-in dog enclosure where you are allowed to take your dog off leash.

Emery Barnes Park

As for that sign that said “No Dogs Allowed within 15m of playground’ we measured it out. It was quite a distance. That 'no dog' zone measured 49 feet from the edge of the playground out to the surrounding park.  Yet we saw many dogs and their owners in that area?

Who can blame them? I mean, who carries a tape measure with them when they take their dog for a walk?

Anna Syvovolova who had brought her young children to the park wants a fence put up.

“I think that somehow first of all has to be separated [from] this playground,” Syvovolova pointed out.

Confusing and conflicting signs in Emery Barnes Pa

Mike Stone wants clearer signs. And the folks using the proper fenced in off-leash enclosure want that area improved.

Embley is listening. She’s in charge of People, Parks and Dog Strategy for Vancouver. Her team has been working on recommendations to change the rules, improve conditions and open up more areas for dog owners. A list of recommendations will go before the Vancouver Park Board this spring. 

They will also be addressing enforcement where dog owners ignore the rules too.

|Dog owners ignoring rules| 

Standing in the middle of the park, I asked, “With regards to this park would say this is a prime example of where things need to be addressed?”

“Yes I would,” Embley replied.

Confusing and conflicting signs in Emery Barnes Pa