Off-leash park a good idea

The City of Red Deer deserves a treat for deciding to develop a second off-leash dog park in the community.

The City of Red Deer deserves a treat for deciding to develop a second off-leash dog park in the community.

As Three Mile Bend, Red Deer’s first off-leash dog park, has become increasingly busy, the need for another has become apparent.

The new park will be especially welcome as it will be located on the city’s south side, where the bulk of Red Deer’s population increase has occurred in recent years.

The park, which will be situated east of Westerner Park, will be established on the on the city’s old landfill site at 19th Street and 40th Avenue.

That’s a great use for the reclaimed property.

People who want to give their opinions on the new off-leash dog park are invited to do so at an open house at Three Mile Bend on Tuesday, from 5 to 8 p.m.

As noted in an Advocate news story last week, the $400,000 park will have perimeter fencing, picnic areas, pet waste bag receptacles and rain shelters.

To some taxpayers, $400,000 may sound like a large chunk of change, but it really is a small price to pay for a facility that will be enjoyed by dog owners for decades to come.

Furthermore, as popular as the off-leash park is likely to be with dog owners, it will likely be welcomed by people without pets, too.

That’s because it may persuade some dog owners to quit walking their animals in other City of Red Deer parks, some of which are off-limits to dogs (Gaetz Lake Sanctuary and Heritage Ranch, for example).

Although it’s illegal to take a dog to all city playgrounds and picnic areas, with or without leashes, countless dog owners do that. And, unfortunately, many of them can’t be bothered to pick up after their canines.

Some of the dog owners are even letting their dogs off leash in city parks, potentially endangering pedestrians and cyclists using nearby roads, trails and play areas.

The new off-leash park is not expected to be completed until the spring, but it will be open to the public this fall.

City officials are wise to plan to eventually link it up with the trail system so that people can walk from their homes to the park.

Kari Holmberg, a dog care attendant at 4 Paws Dog Daycare quoted in the Advocate last week, made an interesting observation.

She said she would like to see the city’s regulations concerning dogs posted at both the old and new dog parks.

No doubt, that would help curb problem dog-owner behaviour, as would increased enforcement of the bylaw.

It might even encourage people who don’t bother to license their dogs, to do so.

The City of Red Deer is dedicated to providing a variety of quality services and facilities to its citizens. The new dog park will be welcomed by both city residents and visitors, in that tradition.

Lee Giles is an Advocate editor.

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