June 16th, 2024

Lethbridge ranks second nationally for dog park lands

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on March 24, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Is there more space to let Fido run loose in Lethbridge?
City council on Tuesday accepted for information a report about the possibility of creating new off-leash dog areas in the city.
The report was made by Parks and Cemeteries general manager Blair Richter.
The report shows the city has four off-leash parks including the Scenic Drive run which consists of 30.22 hectares, Popson which has 21.79 hectares and Peenaquim consisting of 14.76 hectares. There is also a .58 hectare dog park in the Riverstone subdivision of West Lethbridge and a northside bark park of 3.27 hectares in size is under development.
The report says when comparing the amount of off-leash space with other Canadian communities, Lethbridge is well above the average of 25.3 hectares per 100,000 residents.
Lethbridge actually sits second nationally behind Calgary at 69 hectares per 100,000 residents. Calgary is slightly ahead at 74.2. In comparison, nearby Medicine Hat has 27.5 hectares of off-leash space per 100,000 residents.
The province’s capital meanwhile only has 32.3 hectares per 100,000 people.
The city has developed a four-stage process for considering potential locations. The first stage includes researching practises from other municipalities; identifying potential size and residence setback requirements; and potential site selection.
The city identified 77 potential sites using criteria including city-owned green spaces; space that can accommodate 0.5 hectares of off-leash area; and residential setback of 15 metres.
The report says increasing the number of off-leash parks would provide more options for residents and potentially reduce the volume of users at present locations. But some residents may not want those parks near their homes.
There could also be capital costs to build new areas, those costs which would include site preparation and construction of fences and other amenities including garbage cans and doggie pay dispensers.
These could amount to about $365,000. There could also be an increase in operating costs and a need for extra staff.
In addition, turf at off-leash parks requires extra maintenance to repair it when damaged, says the report.
The city plans to engage the entire city in the second quarter of this year about the matter. After potential sites have been refined, the city may do a round of engagement that targets residents to understand their feelings if an off-leash area was created in their neighbourhood.

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