Other cities close to St. Albert have functional fenced areas for dog parks. Spruce Grove has a double-gated entry. St. Albert has two designated parks, plus, as indicated on the city’s website, "City Council increased the number of off-leash sites by including 12 outdoor boarded skating rinks as additional locations to exercise and play with your dogs." This is way more opportunities than other cities similar in size have for their dogs.
The future fencing of the dog park at Lacombe Lake Park is an appropriate solution that reflects the consideration of all St. Albert residents. Dogs can still frolic in the dog park. Their leashes can be put back on and they can be led by their owners to the swimming area, to be set free to dive, splash, and joy-bark.
Lacombe Lake Park is now the preferred dog park in St. Albert. It used to be a neighbourhood park that nearby residents (dog and non-dog owners) walked to and enjoyed without the competition of the rest of St. Albert’s dogs. It used to be one of the best-kept secrets in St. Albert, now it even has a Facebook page.
Residents who enjoyed the pastoral park of the past have had to accommodate the rise in the demand for dog play. Council’s decision to put up the fence won’t bring back the pastoral park and it won’t appease every dog owner, but it is a solution that allows both non-dog owners and dog owners to continue to be thankful for the park while they share the green space.
It is evident that more and more people are becoming pet parents who are willing and eager to pay for expensive premium products for their pets as indicated in an Oct. 13 Financial Post article by Hollie Shaw, "From apparel to supplements, PetSmart Canada cashes in on the ‘premiumization’ of pets" – "Canadians are spending 4.7 billion annually on their pets … and that does not include veterinary services."
The cost to pay for the fence through dog licences is therefore a small cost in comparison. Is there a better solution for payment of the fence? Should non-dog owners pay? It is one thing to be childless and still pay for school taxes. However, should you be dogless and still pay for dog benefits? In the scope of privileges that must be paid for in our world, isn’t this a small sacrifice? And as the popular saying goes, let’s not sweat the small stuff.
Sandra Mooney-Ellerbeck, St. Albert