Dog park project bringing community organizations together

The dog park project will be completed by volunteers and local not-for-profits.

Chestermere City Council directed administration to work with Community Therapy Dogs to complete council’s dog park priority project.

During the Sept. 20 council meeting, councillor and Deputy Mayor, Mel Foat brought forward the opportunity for the city to work with not-for-profit organizations to complete the community project.

“I’m taking off my councillor hat, and becoming a resident to help with this,” Foat said.

Kim Wallace, Acting City Director, Corporate Services for the City of Chestermere explained on behalf of Foat that Community Therapy Dogs expressed interest in spearheading the development of the park.

The dog park project was approved in April, with a city budget of $196,000.

From community feedback gathered, the dog park project location was changed to the corner of Windermere Drive and Paradise Road under the AltaLink power lines.

“We have priced out the materials, and we would only use $40,000 of the city’s budget,” Wallace said. “We are also expecting to receive additional discounts from the suppliers of the materials, but most of the cost savings will come from the labour that residents are donating.”

With donations made by the Community Therapy Dogs, Foat is hopeful to use the funds to build an agility course in the dog park.

“There may be gravel and garbage cans that need is needed for the dog park. At this point we are unsure of the cost, but we are certain the city’s budget will be able to cover the cost,” Wallace said.

To start the project, Foat and Community Therapy Dogs are asking for the city to fill in the holes in the park with gravel and eradicate the gophers next spring, however, if the city’s trucks are busy this fall, the holes can also be filled in next spring.

The city had planned to host an open house on Sept. 27, where dog owners can learn about the project, and share their thoughts.

“We feel the resident open house should go ahead as planned. We’re hoping to get started after the open house,” Wallace said.

“The city had already planned to have an open house to get everyone who wants to be involved in this together, and ask questions,” Foat said. “I definitely want to see that go through. Therapy dogs and the residents want to get this going.”

To go forward with the project, city administration needs approval for the location, materials, and from AltaLink to have volunteers build the dog park.

“It’s nice to have our community involved in projects. Personally, I think it’s good that the city is joint venturing with projects, volunteers, and not-for-profits. That’s what we’re supposed to do, this is a good venture. Volunteers are appreciated and needed,” Mayor Jeff Colvin said.

“Anything that has grassroots with a lot of community involvement is a great idea,” City Councillor Shannon Dean said.

To move the project forward, city administration has been directed by council to work with Community Therapy Dogs to create a presentation of a joint venture with the city, focusing on AltaLink liability, safety, budget, insurance, and feedback from residents gathered at the open house.

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