by Calli Stromner
Bob Foster Park will be going to the dogs as Council unanimously approved it as the location for a new off-leash dog park. Up to $50,000 was earmarked in the 2014 Budget to develop a canine-centric recreation area and Town documents indicate that the project aligns with three of the Town’s six priorities: cultural, social and environmental sustainability.
“Like any park development, there will be additional projects or funding opportunities coming forward. The concept will be developed over time. This is a concept that is seen in other municipalities,” said Corporate Operations Director David Schaefer. Town staff initiated both a photo contest and an online survey as a way to generate interest in and gather community feedback on the project. A total of 96 entries were received for the photo contest and 335 surveys were submitted.
Administration also considered Montreau Park as a potential off-leash dog area; however, the lack of parking, nearness to school and sports fields, and inability to expand the park was considered less than ideal. Schaefer said Bob Foster Park exceeds the minimum size recommendation for a dog park and is large enough to create separate areas for small and large dog breeds.
Mayor Lisa Holmes asked whether the addition of a dog park would stretch the Town beyond its capacity to maintain all of the park spaces within the municipality. Public Works Director Claude Valcourt said that a request for additional staffing resources might be brought forward for Council consideration in the future.
Site construction will begin almost immediately and Town staff anticipates it will be completed before the winter sets in. Bob Foster Park is located in northwest Morinville next to the skate park. The park will be east of the skate park directly off the existing walking trail.
Champion Petfoods has publicly indicated that they will be donating $20,000 towards the cost of the park.