Dear Councillors, Editor, Dog Owners and Ball Players,

Please stop calling the situation over the winter at John Osadchuk Park a “failed” anything – It wasn’t a “trial” or a “pilot” or a “partnership” or anything, because nothing was effectively communicated to the community. The gates never went back up, and that was the whole point.

This discussion didn’t include the ball field at the Sports Plex because it has never had gates on the dug-outs. Last summer, some folks were using Osadchuck Park specifically because they could close all the exits, and let a few dogs run free together. The sign asking folks to clean up after their pets, and providing handy dog-poo bags, has been there for a while, and most dog owners were using them. Unfortunately, some were not. So the folks playing ball complained to the Village, and the Village removed the dug-out gates and put up the “no dogs allowed” signs. That prompted the letters to Council last fall, asking for a trial where dogs would be allowed, and the gates replaced. Council decided to try it, but it never happened. So please stop saying it failed.

The group asking last fall for the trial didn’t use the field over the winter, because the gates weren’t replaced. The “no dogs allowed” signs didn’t come down, they are still right next to where the gates used to be. See photos attached, that is what they’ve been like all winter. I’m not blaming anyone; things get missed sometimes. But the failure here was follow-through and communication – not any partnership or trial.

Volunteers have cleaned up the John Osadchuk park, and yes, there has been fresh dog poo there almost daily. There is at least one large black and white dog that is at the park regularly with no human supervision. But it’s more than one dog, and dogs don’t leave cigarette butts behind. Apparently, some irresponsible people are continuing to ignore all 3 signs. But volunteers are continuing to clean up after these thoughtless and irresponsible people, and are also cleaning up other garbage such as broken glass, winter’s windswept garbage and hundreds of cigarette buts.

If there is a line item in the budget for more fencing, I think it would be great to fence in the area to the south of the Osadchuck diamond to use as a dedicated dog park. I always think it is a shame when a valuable community-owned asset is used only for one thing. I hope when Council comes to consider a dedicated dog park, they won’t look back on this winter as a failure of anything.

Korie Marshall

Valemount resident, generally responsible (but entirely human) dog owner