Saturday November 22, 2014

Dog gone it, a new park is born

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Dogs and their owners will soon have a dedicated park to exercise at.

An Off-leash Recreation Area (Park) received approval from Yorkton Council at its regular meeting Monday.

Darcy McLeod Director, Community Development, Parks and Recreation with the City said talks regarding a dedicated park area began in April 2013, where eight possible locations were identified.

From there the Logan Green area west of the Water Treatment Plant was presented to the public at an open house. There it was decided that Logan Green would not meet the users’ needs but that they would like to investigate the Jaycee Beach area as a possible location, detailed material circulated to Council.

A second meeting was held on November 6, 2013 where the Jaycee Beach location was discussed and it was agreed that Jaycee Beach was the best location.

The Parks Division then met with Yorkton Minor Baseball (YMB) on the possible Jaycee Beach development. YMB identified safety concerns for their players and parents as well as possible player distraction, explained McLeod.

“They were assured that dogs will not be permitted to be off leash until they were in the enclosed dog park area,” he said.

The fence will be six feet high and screening will be placed on the dog park fence facing the ball diamonds so that dogs would not be distracted and bark at the ball players.

“The park will also have an entryway within the compound, where dogs will be calmed prior to moving in or out of the park,” added McLeod.

As for financing, “The off leash park project received $25,000 in the 2014 budget,” offered McLeod.

However the projected budget for the park is $37,000.

As a result a Dog Park Committee was established and has been actively raising funds to cover the difference.

“This Committee is also committed to assisting with maintenance and any future improvements to the Park,” added McLeod.

“The City will cut the grass and empty waste receptacles and the Committee will ensure garbage and droppings are picked up so that the grass can be cut.”

With the Committee working to raise their portion of the funds McLeod said the project was ready to proceed.

“The Community Development, Parks & Recreation Committee reviewed this request at their June 17, 2014 meeting and concurred with Administration’s recommendation,” he said.

Councillor Ross Fisher was not enamoured of the location choice. He said many runners and walkers use the area, noting “it’s being a reasonably busy area,” adding he felt a dog park might be better established “somewhere away from activities.”

Coun. Les Arnelien said the area looked quite large, and wondered if downsizing the park would lower costs.

“It’s a small dog park compared to other dog parks across Saskatchewan,” offered McLeod.

Hearing the park was smaller than most Coun. James Wilson questioned whether the area could be expanded if needed in the future?

“Are we restricting ourselves?” he asked.

McLeod said he did not foresee a need to grow the park, adding as it stands about half the picnic area at Jaycee Beach will be within the dog area.

The park would be passed by Council, but Fisher would vote in opposition.

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