By Andrea Arnold
Valemount Council is considering the use of John Osadchuk Ball Diamond by dog owners as an off-leash dog park during the off season. This was in response to three messages that the village received asking about the possibility.
During their last meeting, Council was presented arguments for and against the idea in a report to council. The report stated that the space hasn’t been used for this purpose before, and that the cleanliness of the space is a municipal responsibility.
But the report pointed out that the space is underutilized much of the year, and that a similar space is not available to dog owners. If the decision to proceed was made, it would fall under current bylaw regulations stating that a dog is not required to be on leash while in a designated off-leash area.
Councillor Hollie Blanchette expressed concern that dog waste will not be cleaned up.
Mayor Torgerson suggested a trial run, with a group willing to do a mass clean up in the spring.
Councillor Pearson agrees that clean up is an issue and suggested that encouraging regular walk-through/clean-up would be needed, not just a spring cleaning. He also recommended that there be signage regarding dog park usage rules.
Councillor Mulyk agreed that the signs are needed, and that a trial basis is a good idea with the understanding that this may or may not be the case next year, depending on the outcome of this period.
Council approved the new dog park space for the remainder of this off season as a trial period. They will make another decision about future timeframes pending the success of this season.