Ten people have volunteered to help put together a proposal for a dog park in Williams Lake, after a meeting hosted by the City Monday night that attracted around 20 locals.
The ad-hoc committee will research possible locations and amenities for the park, canvass members of the dog-owning community for feedback, and ultimately bring a plan to city hall for council’s consideration.
The committee won’t have to start from scratch, however, because during the meeting those in attendance generated an extensive list of various locations and amenities.
Director of community services Geoff Paynton, who hosted the meeting, warned there’s no money in the budget allocated for a dog park and a dog park is not in council’s plan.
“We’re not here to talk about whether we want one or not, but rather where a dog park might be a good fit,” Paynton said. “For every location there’s going to be five people for it and five people against it, but that won’t help us move forward with a proposal.”
Some of the potential locations brainstormed included Glendale Park, Comer Park, Beauchamp Park, Johnson Park, Boitanio Park, Kinsmen Park and the Stampede grounds. In addition, dog-owner Francesca Sonna suggested a park at the head of the River Valley Trail.
“One of the good aspects of a trail park would be the fact that you could run your dog on the trail and then take it to the park afterwards,” Sonna said.
When asked by Paynton to describe features of an ultimate dog park, suggestions from the floor ran the gamut: water, beaches, garbage cans, bag dispensers, signage, lighting, trees, natural features, agility features, grass and fencing.
Michael Levitt thought a “pay as you use” feature would help recoup some of the costs for making the park.
Monica Sutherland said when she visits her hometown of Nelson she goes to the designated dog area along the waterfront. She’s noticed it has colour-coded signage determining where people can go with their dogs on or off leash.
Without even soliciting ideas of dog parks created in other cities, Paynton said it’s amazing how many communities have contacted him after hearing Williams Lake might be interested in possibly putting one in.
“I’ve got lots of examples,” he said, pointing out that many communities started with designated dog areas before moving ahead to creating dog parks.
Prince George did that and completed three quarters of an acre park that cost around $75,000, Paynton said.
Using Boitanio Bike Park as an example, Paynton suggested the dog park committee will also need to develop a plan for city council to consider.
“A bike park wasn’t on the radar anywhere for city council,” he said.
“That group came forward with a ton of money, a ton of volunteer time and basically said to council if you give us the approval we’ll get this thing done.”
The more the project is community driven and community championed, he added, the more chance it will have of going forward.