Dog owners who use the off-leash park at Grand Trunk didn’t get their wish to have a fence built around it to keep dogs from running into traffic. They’ve been at City Hall before urging the safety feature after citing dog deaths in the past. This time they even proposed to Council’s Community and Public Services Committee adding a $1 surcharge on licences to cover the estimate $60,000 cost.
“They’ve got five fenced off-leash dog parks in Calgary,” said Ken Zahara, of the Grand Trunk off-leash park committee. “They’re way ahead of us. All of the surrounding municipalities in Edmonton have fenced off-leash dog parks.”
However the proposal was criticized by other Calder residents who suggest there are other ways to control dogs to keep them safe. “I realize this is a pilot project. What worries me now is that our park is going to be guinea pig,” said Monica Ostrom after the meeting when the councillors were told a year long study is underway that will look at all Edmonton area dog parks, and their safety features.
“We’re going to get the fence with the black stripping and another area, that’s a nicer area of Edmonton might be getting the, I think I heard $3.1 million dog park? Like that’s crazy.”
The licence surcharge lost on a tie vote. Both a $1 and $5 fee was proposed.
“We’re looking into things like how many times people call 311 for either a complaint or a commendation on an off-leash area,” Nicole Fraser, the city’s management supervisor of beautification and greening initiatives told reporters. “We’re looking at users of the parks. How many are there per hour, and based on the time per day, weekdays and evenings. We’re looking at how people use the area, if there’s any conflicts things like that.”
“I think they’ll come back and say ‘you have 40 off leash parks, maybe the district parks need to consider fencing,’ but we’re just trying to get a way forward about what that would look like,” Coun. Bev Esslinger said.
“The other thing was on funding, how would we pay for it if there were special amenities, it’s really an exploration because until we get the master strategy, we’re not going to make that decision for everybody’s park.”
Esslinger said there will likely be a combination of shrubs, and fences to protect dogs, as well as trees. To stay with in budget, Esslinger suggests they may cut back on the number of trees if more fences are going to be used.
The larger report is due in August of 2017, which had Coun. Ed Gibbons predicting it’ll become an election issue, since it’ll fall right in the middle of the campaign.