When the Malibu Parks and Recreation Commission asked for public feedback about city programs in 2019, many residents of eastern Malibu said they wanted a dog park—one that would be located on their side of town, as opposed to driving all the way out to the one at Trancas Canyon Park in western Malibu.
In response, on Jan. 21, 2020, the commission requested staff study the feasibility of putting a fenced-in dog park at the city’s Las Flores Creek Park. Jesse Bobbett, community services director, explained at the presentation last week that the study was delayed by the pandemic and budgetary considerations.
Las Flores Creek Park is a long, skinny park with walking paths on either side of Las Flores Creek, featuring large, old native trees. The staff study recommended locating the dog park near the existing playground and restrooms. But, because the park is so “skinny,” they said the size of a fenced-in dog area could only be about 3,000 square feet. In contrast, the dog park at Trancas is 20,000 square feet.
The proposed dog area also presented several other problems. It contains several large protected native oak trees that would have to be trimmed back, and most commission members felt uncomfortable about the possibility of the dog park damaging those trees and their roots. And, because the entire park is near a creek bed and Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA), a biological assessment would have to be made by a certified biologist.
After the presentation and public comments, Commission Chair Suzanne Guldimann said she had researched the subject and that a standard municipal dog park is 20,000 square feet. Therefore, the proposed dog park at Las Flores was, in her estimation, far too small. In addition, she agreed that Las Flores is not near the population center of eastern Malibu, which is the Civic Center area.
The commission will continue its quest for a dog park where there’s enough room for 20,000 square feet and no ESHA to deal with by focusing next on the city-owned Ioki and La Paz lots in the Civic Center area.
Guldimann said she “remains committed to the idea of a dog park in eastern Malibu” and pledged to get it done.