Even though Canmore has three off-leash dog parks, there are still residential areas in the community that have limited access – without jumping into a car and driving – to such facilities.
With that in mind, the Town of Canmore is planning to investigate adding up to three new off-leash dog parks in the community in 2017, as proposed in the capital budget currently under consideration by the finance committee.
General manager of municipal infrastructure Michael Fark presented the project to the committee, including seven potential locations a fenced off-leash dog park could be located.
Fark said administration is proposing to engage the neighbourhoods that could potentially see a new off-leash park throughout 2017 in order to potentially find three locations for a new park.
“This project was the result of a request by council to look at repurposing some of our existing parks for the purpose of allowing more dog park facilities,” he said, adding administration is recommending using green space to create new fenced dog parks instead.
“There will have to be substantial public engagement for each of the locations, which will have many people in support and some people who may be in opposition, and we have to anticipate that is the case.”
Potential locations include a green space by Benchlands Terrace and Benchlands Trail; green space by the Trans-Canada Highway near Teepee Town; a location at Hubman Landing and Riva Heights; a location along the Three Sisters Parkway at Stewart Creek Drive; green space on Van Horne; green space in the treed area south of Mountain Shadows and an area on Miskow Close. The two final locations are on provincial land and Three Sisters Mountain Village land and would require permission of the landowner, noted Fark.
Councillor Sean Krausert expressed reluctance on the project without information returning to council in 2017 on the results of the public engagement and the chosen location or locations of new parks.
“I would be looking for assurance these would only be put in where there is significant support in the neighbourhood,” he said.
Coun. Esmé Comfort noted that having appropriate amenities for residents that have dogs is important when it comes to reducing human wildlife interactions in places like wildlife corridors.
“I think the very least we can do is engage the community in the places where they are logical and see what the appetite is for this,” Comfort said. “I would hope they see it as an amenity and not an imposition.”
Investigating the need and feasibility of additional dog parks was a recommendation to come out of the completed human use management review the municipality conducted last year.
Chief administrative officer Lisa de Soto asked council to express concerns about any of the locations to administration. She said the intention is that the parks are to be small and for local use – and inevitably parking is going to be a concern.
“That will be one of a number of potential issues residents will raise,” de Soto said. “It would be helpful to understand if council believes these are community amenities that are worth pursuing, because we will receive opposition.
“The idea is that they would be neighbourhood parks accessed locally by users that would walk there with their dog.
“We would hope to work to resolve concerns, but inevitably there will be opposition.”
The proposed budget for the project is $60,000 and Fark said that covers costs associated with fencing and bins needed. Currently, Canmore has three off-leash dog parks – at the Quarry Lake area, along Cougar Creek at Highway 1A (Bow Valley Trail) and along Glacier Drive.