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Red Deer County to investigate Springbrook dog park

Coun. Dana Depalme gives project a push with notice of motion calling for action

Springbrook Community Association hopes the ball may soon get rolling on a long-awaited dog park and other much-needed amenities.

Red Deer County council voted in favour of a notice of motion from Coun. Dana Depalme requesting administration come back with a report on potential locations for a dog park, how it would be maintained and costs involved.

Association president Tariann Bowman hopes Depalme’s efforts restore momentum to the project and provide more clarity on the path forward.

A dog park has been on a community wish list for years and a 2017 survey identified it as a need in the fast-growing community of about 1,500.

“We actually have done a lot of work,” said Bowman. “We had a sub-committee formed and the sub-committee did a lot of the groundwork with administration to identify land locations, costs, who would be maintaining it.”

In May 2022, the association was told it was an amenity the county should provide. All the information gathered was turned over to county staff and while talks continued no formal proposal came out of them.

This past April the association was advised to complete a community amenity request, which has been done. The county says the association needs to submit a formal request.

Completed amenity requests must go to council for approval. Applicants may also be directed to seek funding through grant programs.

Coun. Depalme said she is not sure why the request seems to be held up.

“Other things have come forward and we have not had to do all this process for council to make a decision.”

Depalme said she does not see a need for more community consultation when local support for a dog park had already been established years ago. She welcomed a report that would provide necessary information for council to look at the community’s request.

“Until we have the information and the cost and the location, quite honestly, how can you say, ‘no’ when you don’t have any of that information ahead of time?”

Bowman said the association just wants clarity on how to go about pursuing a dog park.

“We’d like to see exactly what the process is. We’ve asked many times what is the process to get amenities like this done.”

Similar frustrations have arisen around the association’s efforts to have a community hall built in Springbrook. The county has not approved a location, a necessary first step to apply for grants to get the project going.

“We have no direction on what they expect us to do. We’re really in a holding pattern on the community hall.”

The county says coming report will outline the process to pursue a Springbrook dog park. The report will look at prospective locations, costs, community consultation requirements and legal issues such as liability. Recommendations will also be made on who would own, operate and maintain it.

Staff would outline the best way for the community to pursue a dog park and would also look at developing a process for handling similar requests from other county hamlets.

The report says county staff have the resources to prepare a project work plan report but at this time do not have the resources to put it into action.

It also notes the county has budgeted for a county-wide Community Needs Assessment next year that would look at specific asks from hamlets and rural subdivisions.

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Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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