Dog park idea on hold for now
The concept of an off-leash dog park here has been on hold for the time being after an advisory committee determined the town isn’t currently in a good financial position to help make it a reality.
In light of the job layoffs announced by Resolute Forest Products in late November, not to mention the financial pressures resulting from the decreased tax assessment of the local mill property, the committee agreed the town is unable to provide any in-kind services and financial support for the completion of such a project in 2013.
The committee also decided it would not make sense to host a public open house anytime soon if the dog park was not going ahead this year.
As a result, the committee delayed the process and now will meet this fall to determine if the financial state of the community has improved where such a park could be supported and developed in 2014.
Still, the committee has done some groundwork in anticipation of a future dog park project.
Over the past six months, for instance, the committee (comprised of Duane Hicks, Kathleen Egan, Kiwanians George Bell and Janet Lambert, Couns. Andrew Hallikas and Ken Perry, town bylaw officer Arlene Byrnes, and Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown) met five times to review a listing of all green spaces and parks presently maintained by the Parks and Cemeteries department.
Each member of the committee provided both positive and negative comments on each site, and ranked their six top.
Four candidate sites eventually were selected by the committee and distributed to all town departments for input.
These sites included:
•green space near the water tower, west-end boat launch, and the sewage treatment plant;
•property just south of the Fifth Street West right-of-way between Wright Avenue and McIrvine Road (adjacent to the railroad tracks);
•green space near the Sixth Street rink in the north end of town; and
•property north of the Phair Avenue park.
While other sites could be reconsidered down the road, there was a consensus among committee members that the town-owned property by the sewage treatment plant and water tower is considered the preferred choice for an off-leash dog park.
The public also would be consulted as to which site they would prefer during a future open house.
The exact layout of the site—and cost estimate—would be completed once a preferred site is selected and endorsed by council.
But preliminary estimates indicate a price tag of about $30,000 to construct a standard off-leash dog park with two areas—one for small dogs and the other for large ones.