One of the top headlines in February 2004 was “Dog Fight over the Dog Park.” It was one of several articles that ran that year as residents fought over a proposed dog park site.
There was overwhelming support for a dog park (as there is now), but the proposed site at the mouth of Potrero Canyon was hotly contested by residents on Friends Street and Mount Holyoke, who called themselves BRAD (Bluff Residents Against Danger).
Councilman Bill Rosehdahl’s District Director Norm Kulla spoke about the emails he had received. He said that one major concern was unrelated to the dog park, but rather concerned bluff stability and the fact that Via de las Olas had been withdrawn from public use and there was no traffic enforcement on the street.
“The second area of concern has to do with the proposed location,” Kulla said.
Then, bluff residents worried about the existence of an overgrown trail on the hillside from Lombard, on Via de las Olas, down to the Oxy site, near the mouth of Potrero Canyon.
“PaliDog members felt that this trail would never be an issue, since the 10-minute hike each way would discourage most potential dog-park users. A parking lot would be built at the park itself, with traffic-signal access off PCH.
“Nevertheless, BRAD members warned that the trail would actually prove popular and would attract unknown hordes of people who would park for free on Via de las Olas and adjoining streets in order to access the dog park. This additional vehicle traffic would ‘further exacerbate bluff instability,’ said Tom Giovine in his two-page complaint, while inviting ‘wayward and unseemly people to roam the bluff streets.’” (That land, which was inundated with homeless camps, belongs to L.A. City Recreation and Parks. It was labeled a Very High Fire Severity Zone in 2015. The homeless were no longer allowed to camp there and more than 30 abandoned camps were cleaned.)
In 2004, one resident, a professor spoke about “the health hazard raised by the dissemination of bacteria contained in fecal material eliminated by potentially thousands of dogs frequenting the park, that would spread through water and the environment. It would particularly affect young and elderly individuals who live in the proximity of the park.”
Those bluff residents suggested that the best place for a dog park was in Temescal Gateway Park and that Joe Edmiston, the executive director of the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy, should be approached.
After that meeting in Mort’s Deli, Kulla said, “Since your community is so strong against the Oxy site, we won’t go forward, unless you have a change of heart.”
Twenty years later there still is no dog park. The new unofficial dog park, where owners illegally take dogs off the leash is the George Wolfberg Park at Potrero.
In a March meeting of the Pacific Palisades Community Council Meeting, President Maryam Zar wrote that one of the reasons for forming a Wolfberg Park committee was “People come to the George Wolfberg Park at Potrero to enjoy the wonderful trails and fabulous vistas with their dogs, and often allow them off-leash in the coastal landscape. Unfortunately, these off-leash dogs threaten the delicate riparian habitat and topography of this well-planned, passive-use park.”
But regarding a proper dog park, in an email to a dog park organizer, Zar wrote “The dog park is not a PPCC matter, it’s just something we support.”
Tomorrow, CTN looks at the current status of the proposed dog park at Temescal Canyon Park.