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Boyle councillors keep dog park on radar

Project a “want to have, not need to have,” says mayor
Village of Boyle councillors selected a possible site for a village dog park, after the idea was first brought forward by Coun. Shelby Kiteley in the summer. The lot, located on the north end of the lot occupied by the village office, was chosen for safety and location reasons.

BOYLE – Village of Boyle councillors took another step toward creating a dog park in the community, with administration bringing three proposed locations to the table. Despite the progress, councillors also recognized it was a “nice to have,” not a “need to have,” as Mayor Colin Derko said.

Councillors voted 5-0 in favour of a motion to direct administration to obtain costs for a proposed dog park on the .61-acre vacant area on the Village office property, after ruling out two additional options.

“It initially started after Shelby noticed a lot of people were out walking their dogs and congregating in open areas, so we started to ask ourselves ‘What can our community use?’” said Derko. “Once we brought it up at the joint rec meeting and got some positive feedback from people who said that a dog park was often a welcome sign during a road trip as a place to let the dog out and have lunch, we thought it would be an inexpensive but effective way to help grow recreation.”

Village CAO Warren Griffin brought three proposed locations to the council meeting — a 1.6-acre spot near ball diamond #1 and 2, a 1.3-acre lot that is currently the subject of a water management grant, and .6 acre beside the village office.

During a previous Sept. 6 meeting, councillors learned a dog park was recommended to be at least one acre, although Coun. Barb Smith said she felt it wouldn’t be an issue given the lot’s layout.

“I play with my dog there all the time, and it’s never been an issue,” said Smith, who added that the proposed location had other benefits. “It’s close, so if you have your kids playing at the spray park or the playground you aren’t too far.”

The selected lot wasn’t councillors first choice, but concerns about safety, and efficient land usage eventually won out.

“People overestimate how friendly their dogs are, so having them get dogs past a possible playground, ball diamond, and the outdoor rink, I just think it could cause issues,” said Coun. Shelby Kiteley, who first brought the idea to council back in the summer.

The 1.3-acre lot was initially the choice for councillors — it’s unoccupied, centrally located and meets the minimum recommended standards for a dog park. The lot has also attracted interest from developers, raising concerns about the efficient usage of space.

“If we do get the (water management) grant, we can always build as we go … dogs aren’t going to wreck a commercial drainage system,” said Derko. “I’m skeptical about this piece of land because I’ve had a developer approach me to build housing there. Are we using up a piece of property here, when there’s all this other land?”

Administration is currently obtaining costs for the project, which will include a full fence around the area, a double gate for access, and possibly a separator for large and small dogs.

Lastly, councillors kicked around the idea of seeing if any community groups would be willing to help with the project. While Kiteley said they were all “stretched thin,” Derko was enthusiastic about the idea.

“My concern is that we have so many things on the go right now, and if we don’t do it right it becomes, ‘Well why didn’t you talk to the public and the community groups first?’” said Derko. “An initiative like the spray park, that wasn’t a village thing, it was another group.”

Cole Brennan,