Mayor Nolan Crouse is hoping to avoid any future conflict with residents by planning the city’s third dog park now, away from any established residential areas.
Council unanimously endorsed the mayor’s motion for recreation services to start planning for a third dog park sooner instead of later. Dog parks have already been planned for Lacombe Park Lake and along Levasseur Road. Because these areas were already established, the city experienced some criticism from residents in those areas.
“Let’s plan a park area, perhaps still in the city limits, but in an area that is predetermined and maybe even that’s a kilometre or two away where people can let the dogs out and let them run and chase each other,” Crouse said. “Let’s plan it now so that when the area structure plan is approved, people know the dog park is there.”
Monique St. Louis, director of recreation services, said it’s only been a few days since council approved the dog park, but the department already knows location will be the most important criterion in site selection.
“Clearly the motion talked about doing it somewhere before residential goes in,” St. Louis said. “It won’t be adjacent to anyone’s home.”
The park will be funded by the $10 dog licensing fee council voted to continue charging in the 2012 budget.
Equally as important as the lack of residential development will be in which quadrant the city will build the third dog park. The first two dog parks are located in the city’s northwest and southwest, According to the department’s geographic distribution guidelines, there is supposed to be one dog park located in each of the city’s four quadrants, meaning the third will be built in the city’s northeast or southeast.
“We want the citizens to have them as nearby as possible,” said St. Louis. “The geographic proximity is only on screening criteria. It also has to be safe for the dog and friendly for users.”
St. Louis said the dog advisory committee will meet in the new year to develop the full set of criteria for site selection. In doing so, members will have a look at the plans used to choose the locations for the first two parks to see if the criteria are still relevant.
Crouse said he is trying to plan for the city’s future instead of simply reacting to citizens’ needs.
“I think we need to have the bylaws in place so that they are in place for five, 10, 20 years so that the next time this comes up, the bylaws are there,” Crouse said.