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Town of Crossfield pursuing another off-leash dog park

The Town of Crossfield is attempting to bring another off-leash dog park to the community, and is in the process of determining the most suitable location.

The Town of Crossfield is attempting to bring another off-leash dog park to the community, and is in the process of determining the most suitable location.

After a motion requesting staff to research new off-leash park locations was approved at the Jan. 5 meeting, the item was back on Crossfield Town council’s agenda on April 20.

“As you know, we were asked to come up with alternative locations other than Limit Avenue,” said Jack Valstar, from the municipality's operations and parks department.

At the meeting, Valstar presented the results of a recent survey that staff conducted. The survey asked Crossfield’s licensed dog-owners for feedback on three possible locations of a new off-leash park – sites along Osler Avenue and Munson Street, north of the fire hall on Railway Street and along Western Drive.

According to Valstar, 144 Crossfield dog-owners participated in the Town’s survey. He said 67 per cent of respondents indicated they visit one of the two current off-leash parks in town.

Of the three proposed locations for a new park, he said 40 per cent of survey respondents said they would prefer the spot at Osler Avenue and Munson Street. Thirty-nine per cent said they would like the option along Western Drive, 36 per cent said they preferred Railway Street and 24 per cent said they did not like any of the listed options.

“As it turns out, not too many [people] liked those ideas,” he said.

In terms of alternative locations, Valstar said some survey respondents left comments that they would like to see an off-leash park near the storm pond south of Stevens Place or on one of the town’s baseball diamonds that is rarely used. Others indicated they would like to see land north of the toboggan hill at Veterans Park or near Crossfield’s local cemetery explored as potential options.

However, Valstar said staff had misgivings with some of the ideas proposed by respondents. He said the municipality does not own some of the cited locations, while other spots are already dedicated to other specific uses, such as public recreation.

He added staff’s recommendation was to pursue a separate location – a plot of land along Laut Avenue, between the water plant and rodeo grounds. His report stated that laying the ground work for an off-leash park there would cost about $15,000, while fence installation would be an additional $23,000.

“The amount of work is pretty much the same and the cost of fencing is going to be pretty much the same,” he said.

After Valstar’s presentation, council discussed the merits and costs of the various locations.

Mayor Jo Tennant expressed concern the public feedback from the survey would be ignored, if the Town opted to go with staff’s recommendation.

“In the survey, we asked them where we wanted it to be and now we’re telling them where we want it to be,” she said. “I think realistically, if we’re going to value the input of what they’ve given us, we should come up with one or two [locations] – and list the reasons why. There’s nothing worse than being asked [for] your opinion and then it’s something different.

“I don’t have a problem with this site, but I just think we have to go back and say, ‘this is the cost, this is what we’re looking at and…these are the reasons why.”

Following a brief discussion, Deputy Mayor Kim Harris moved to accept the report for information and to re-do the survey with an updated set of questions in the winter to prepare to build the park the following spring.

“Sometimes when residents choose locations, they may not have all the information staff does,” she said.

“We have two dog parks that are working for now. I would rather do this the right way and really get it figured out, instead of rushing into something.”