Awaiting the final bark on off-leash dog park

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Lisa Goudy
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Coun. Candis Kirkpatrick shares her views on the final design of the off-leash dog park at the May 12, 2014 executive committee meeting.

Executive committee approves final design of park

Soon dogs will have a place to run around in the city without a leash.

Executive committee approved the final design of the off-leash dog park at Monday’s meeting. The committee gave city administration the green light for the construction of the park at a cost of $72,000.

The operating and maintenance costs, estimated at $5,000 per year, will come from the city’s annual operating budgets. The dog park will be located at the west end of Hamilton Flats south of the 1500 block of High Street West.

The final design includes a fenced 3.6-acre area for large dogs and a separate fenced three-acre area for small dogs. The decision to include those amenities was based out of the public input process. Many citizens commented the size was too small and small and large dogs should be separated.

Coun. Candis Kirkpatrick said she was happy to see the recommendation to separate large and small dogs.

“I’m not a dog owner but it would seem to me my co-workers’ five-pound dog would not stand a chance against somebody else’s 50-pound dog,” she said.

Because the park will be located on city property leased to the Hamilton Flats Mixed Slo-Pitch League Inc., the city held discussions with representatives from the league.

“They’re willing to allow another portion of their property to be utilized for expansion of the dog park as well,” said Jody Hauta, director of parks and recreation. “All of the key amenities that were identified in public consultations have been included in the proposed design.”

But Coun. Dawn Luhning questioned the definition of a small dog versus a big dog and how to police that.

“Is there going to be like a luggage check-in like there is at the airport where fit your dog in here and you can go in the small dog park? I mean, is that something we really need to do?” she said. “My biggest concern is the distinction between small and large. I worry that opens us up to some possible issues down the road … I really think we should stick with the one park.”

Hauta said his small dog is “intimidated by large dogs.” There isn’t adequate room for a six-acre park in one area, he added.

Other amenities include crusher dust pathways wide enough for two wheelchairs, water for dogs, a manually operated gate, a small gravel parking area with a special needs parking spot close to the gate, an accessible porta-potty, garbage containers, shade, waste bag dispensers and benches.

City administration will amend the dog bylaw to allow off-leash activity to take place in the park and dangerous dogs will not be allowed in the off-leash area under an amendment that will take place to the dangerous dog bylaw.

However, Coun. Brian Swanson said there should be a user contribution to the off-leash dog park.

“We shouldn’t be doing things for community groups unless there’s contributions and an excellent example is the tennis club where they have to pay 50 per cent of capital improvements to the facility,” he said. “That is a good bar to set for anybody that wants to come to city hall and ask for money for their particular recreational cultural interest.”

After two defeated amendments, one of which was withdrawn after further information was provided, the majority of executive committee approved the approval of the park’s construction with its final design. Council will need to ratify this decision at next week’s meeting.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Hamilton Flats Mixed Slo-Pitch League

Geographic location: High Street West

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  • Judy Tomyn
    May 14, 2014 - 16:58

    now we'll see if it actually happens.........

  • TomT
    May 13, 2014 - 09:44

    Swanson is right, but of course that determines an immediate 'no' from the majority of council! Why shouldn't there be a user fee ? Try to go on a golf course, curling rink, skating rink, tennis court, and many more forms of exercise venues for free...or isn't this a form of exercise?