By Laura Keil
Valemount Council is currently considering a proposal to add a dog park and pump track on Village land just south of John Osadchuk park. This proposal dovetails with existing infrastructure, as there are already washrooms and a concession stand, as well as a ball diamond and a small playground. The area west and south of the proposed dog park and pump track is undeveloped residential land, land that will hopefully be subdivided and serviced in the coming years.
A dog park is sorely needed, as the pilot project in the ball diamond last year raised the ire of ball players in spring displeased with the dog poo remaining. The alternative – to let dogs run offleash in this area – is dangerous to other pedestrians and dog walkers. The Goat reported on one dog attack that happened in this area just a few years ago.
As far as the pump track, it is a great project as it is a more accessible area for kids to practice their mountain biking skills, and it adds something new to recreational opportunities in town. It is free, available anytime, and would be located in an area that has garbage cans and toilets. Pump tracks help develop kids’ mountain biking skills so they can work up to more aggressive trails on the hill, which can prevent injuries.
John Osadchuk has also been underused in recent years and this proposal would attract more visitors.
As with any civic proposal, public feedback is key. I hope the village engages with the public on the dog park features. The pump track – a Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA) project – is spearheaded by a group of passionate locals and an upcoming awareness and fundraising event is in the works.
I look forward to seeing these two projects under construction.