The location of the city’s next dog park has been identified but ongoing concerns about the esthetics of using a chain link fence might create problems with its funding approval down the road.
On Monday night council approved of locating the city’s second dog-friendly park at a stormwater pond in Campbell Business Park, beside Servus Credit Union Place. Administration will now prepare a submission for the 2014 budget. Estimated at $100,000, the park’s funding would come from funds accrued through dog licensing.
But the same concerns that torpedoed the proposed park along Levasseur Road last year could lead to difficulty come budget time. Administration had proposed surrounding the Levasseur park with chain link fencing to keep dogs from running onto the road, a proposal that didn’t sit well with Mayor Nolan Crouse and some other members of council.
The plan for the Campbell park also calls for chain link fencing to keep dogs safe, an idea Crouse wants administration to revisit.
“I hate the idea of a fence, a cage,” Crouse said. “Why is that we cannot build a fence that is a dense hedge, that is botanic in this botanical arts city?”
Ultimately the Levasseur park was voted down because of the proposed use of chain link fence, as well as resident concerns over noise, traffic and dog waste, even after AltaLink raised the power lines in the area for safety reasons.
Monique St. Louis, director of recreation services for St. Albert, said the city could explore using a fence on a temporary basis until any hedges that might be used have grown sufficiently.
“There is potential, if you throw a ball across it, you could bounce it onto the road at times,” St. Louis said. “The intent is to try and balance the esthetics of our city with the safety of the dogs.”
A new animal bylaw that’s in the works might also affect how and where dog parks are developed in the city. The draft bylaw, which will be debated in the spring, contemplates leashing all dogs in St. Albert except at designated dog parks, (such as Lacombe Lake Park and potentially Campbell) and at proposed off-leash areas, such as green spaces away from playgrounds. The city would have at least one area in each quadrant of the city where dogs could play off leash.
Coun. Cathy Heron said she toyed with the idea of postponing the vote on the Campbell location until the animal bylaw had been settled.
“If we need to build four or five dog parks, we’re going to run out of money (in the dog licence reserve) fast,” Heron said.
As proposed, the Campbell park would feature benches, garbage cans and waste bag dispensers. If approved during 2014 budget discussions, construction would take place that spring or summer.
Lacombe Lake Park is the city’s only designated dog-friendly park.