It wasn’t your typical Red Deer City open house. Beagles and collies ran past the displays and it was smart to be careful where you stepped.
The City of Red Deer unveiled its plans for the new southside dog park on Saturday in a big white tent at Three Mile Bend.
“We’ve heard loud and clear that another dog park is wanted,” said Dave Matthews, planning and technical services supervisor with the City of Red Deer. “This is a for sure thing. It’s moving ahead. It’s just a matter of how it is going to look.”
The new 35-acre park will be located at the city’s old landfill site on 19th Street and 40th Avenue. A clay cap has been placed on the dump debris so contaminants can’t leach into the park. The $400,000 park will have perimeter fencing, picnic areas, pet waste bag receptacles and rain shelters.
Matthews said because of the sensitivity of the Piper Creek the area it will be off limits to dogs, but the city has plans to have a water source at the park, more for drinking than for frolicking and playing in. The park will also have features that don’t exist at Three Mile Bend. A dog agility area and amphitheatre are both planned for the new site.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Brad Lawlor, who lives in Deer Park. “In the summertime everybody wants to be here.”
He was at Three Mile Bend with his dog Kimo, a German shepherd-akita mix.
Lawlor said he has lived across Canada and there is nothing like Three Mile Bend. “It’s a very unique dog park. We’ll see if the other park lives up to the standard.”
Ruby Campbell was walking her dog Charlie, a soft-coated wheaten terrier.
“This is the most exciting thing that has happened in Red Deer in a long time,” said Campbell, who drops by the off-leash dog park four to five times a week.
She said there are so many dog lovers in Red Deer a new park is desperately needed.
Information collected during the open house will be used to finalize plans for the design of the new park, tentatively named the Oxbows. Oxbow is a loop formed by a horseshoe bend in a river or waterway. The park won’t be completed until the spring, but it will be open to the public staring in the fall. It will eventually link up to the trail system so people will be able to walk or bike from their homes to the park.
Andrea and Tim Pinsent, who live in Rosedale, were at the Three Mile Bend with their 14 week old dog Alex, who they describe as a “Heinz 57.” The sandy-coloured puppy is already 22 pounds and likely is part malamute and collie.
Andrea said she would like a fenced in area at the new park so that when they try Alex off leash they know she won’t go too far.
The couple used to drop by the off-leash dog park even before they had a puppy of their own and they were happy to hear there would be another one closer to their home. But Andrea said she likes the river and running water at Three Mile Bend.
Anyone wishing to look at the plans for the new dog park or give feedback to the city will have another opportunity at Three Mile Bend on Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.