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Springbrook pursuing a dog park

Red Deer County council offered show of support for dog park project

Red Deer County and Springbrook Community Association plan to work together to see how best to set up a dog park in the community.

A dog park has been on the hamlet’s wish list for some time and more than 100 local residents signed a petition in favour of setting one up in the community of about 1,500.

Coun. Dana Depalme, whose division includes Springbrook, put the issue on the front burner with a notice of motion at council’s July 25 meeting seeking information on what it would cost to set up a dog park and where it could go.

On Tuesday, county community services manager Jo-Ann Symington presented a report that included a survey of the size of dog parks and how they are run in seven other urban communities and Lacombe County in central Alberta and two counties in the Edmonton region. Where available, information was gathered on what it cost to run them each year.

It was estimated a two-acre fenced dog park with portable toilets, benches and a gravel trail could cost around $64,000 to build and about $4,000 a year to operate. The county has no funding for a dog park in its current budget.

As well, the county does not have a policy or program in place to handle requests for new amenities that will create new operating costs for the city.

“It’s not the typical request for service the county has had,” said county manager Curtis Herzberg.

Staff suggested council may want to develop a policy on how to handle this dog park request and other similar asks from other communities that are sure to follow. Extensive community consultation to decide where best to locate a dog park, its size and what amenities it should include was also suggested.

Several councillors expressed reluctance to hold up the project for too long.

Depalme suggested county-owned land including a number of trails south of Airport Drive would be a good location. To start, a basic dog park with just a fence could be considered.

The Springbrook Community Association could fundraise to add other amenities, such as benches, she added.

“The biggest thing here is there needed to be a point to start at. I do believe the community needs to do something as well.”

Depalme proposed a motion to defer a decision on the dog park to allow county staff and the community association to determine how best to move forward.

Springbrook Community Association president Tariann Bowman said their group will be happy to work with the county on the project and it seemed like progress was being made.

“It seemed like that was really positive,” said Bowman after the meeting.

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