MEDICINE HAT, AB -- Three new off-leash dog parks could be coming to Medicine Hat, one as soon as this summer.
They’re meant to to make up for the lost space when the Saamis Archaeological Site became on-leash only on January 1.
“We’ve certainly heard from the public, that they want designated spaces,” says James Will, general manager of parks and recreation with the City of Medicine Hat. “We’re just hoping this is the initial step in addressing that and looking to continue this throughout the community.”
Using criteria like accessibility, environmental impact and public suitability, three sites around the city were chosen for potential off-leash spaces.
One is located near Goodyear Canada in Crescent Heights, one by the tourist centre, and one North of the Hillside cemetery, called the Westview site.
“One of the things we’re looking at is a couple areas around the city so one being North of the cemetery, the original site that were looking at, as well as a second location that’s in the Crescent Heights area with the site next to the Goodyear and potentially a third site that we’re looking at the Visitor Centre. So it’s a smaller location that would actually be good for people travelling through town and stopping to let their dogs off leash.”
The aim is to have the Westview site developed this summer.
It will be located close to the Gas City Campground, roughly 15-20 acres in size, with paths, benches and a sun shelter.
$50,000 would be invested in the site initially to build any infrastructure. An additional $25,000 each year would be approved for 2020, 2021, and 2022.
“The initial $50,000 that we have in our capital budget, we believe that will fence the north of the cemetery site along with providing some park amenities like park benches, of course having garbage cans for people when they’re picking up after their dogs.”
However, environmental, historical and legislative reviews need to happen before any work begins, but Will says no issues should come up.
“Our initial review, we’re going to talk to the city’s technical coordinating committee about whether there’s any issues with the site,” says Will. “So we think it’s a large space that will work, we should be able to fence it this year is our plan.”
Will says the city will continue looking for other areas suitable for dog parks.
“Designated off-leash parks is something we’re actually going to be working into our regular operations, so it doesn’t mean that were done after this, we’re certainly looking at additional sites that maybe didn’t make the first cut because of other issues that we had to explore,” he says.
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