Beiseker dog owners will soon be able to let their pups roam free at the village’s own designated off-leash dog park, which according to Coun. Les Spurgeon, is set to open later this fall.
The future park is slated to occupy a fenced area at Ninth Street and First Avenue – a zone that was originally designated an off-leash park following the dissolution of the former CP rail line there, Spurgeon said.
“We had a whole bunch of rail cars in there and they finally moved out of there a couple of years ago,” he said of the location. “It had been designated as a dog park and nothing was happening with it, so as a [Village representative], I started talking with Parks and Trails.”
The Parks and Trails liaison said he has been working alongside the government body to establish the village’s own off-leash dog park and is hopeful for a soft opening of Oct. 15.
“We decided if it’s designated [as a dog park], let’s get going on it, let’s make it happen,” he said.
“Now that it’s out there, that it’s available [to the public] that we can make it happen, it’s getting a really good response. It was just getting somebody to give it a kick start.”
Spurgeon said he is the one spearheading the project and pushing to get it done, and is hoping to open the park prior to snowfall, with further amenities added next year.
“We’re hoping to have a soft opening soon, and then next year we’re going to push forward with trees and shrubs and amenities in there and get the fence all finished off all the way around, supported and everything,” Spurgeon said.
The councillor said the group is currently working to tear down the existing fences and rebuild with new “double-gated entrances at both ends” on the north and south sides of the proposed park.
“I wanted to get it open, because winter is going to be here soon, as much as we’re enjoying summer [weather] right now,” he said in an early October interview.
He added he wanted to get development on the park underway considering the demand for it in the community.
“Now that people are seeing what’s happening, they’re interested and they’re getting involved,” Spurgeon said..
Beiseker is home to 130 registered dogs, according to the Village’s statistics, and at least as many owners. That's approximately 15 per cent of Beiseker's population.
“For them to have a secure place to have an off-leash park – can be an on-leash or off-leash park – and other amenities in there, it would be perfect,” Spurgeon said. “The fencing is already there, so let’s do it.”
He said so far, donations are coming in from the community to help support the project.
“Thank you everybody that’s donated so far – we’re going to push forward with more so that we can get it done,” he added.
He said prior to the conditional approval of the park, he ran into “a bit of a snag” with Alberta TrailNet, because the park is situated on part of the Meadowlark Trail, owned by the non-profit charitable organization that supports the ongoing development of Alberta’s provincial trail networks.
According to Spurgeon, getting a committee of community members together to advocate for the dog park has also taken time, but is slowly coming together.
“It’s just slow and you're dealing with some sort of volunteer group with the Alberta government, so nothing happens fast when it’s got the government involved with it,” he said..
Since Alberta TrailNet’s conditional approval for the dog park on Oct. 5, Spurgeon and his committee have been working on getting signs put together for its tentative opening this week.
“I wanted to get it going, the sooner the better, and now that people are seeing what’s happening, they’re getting interested and they’re getting involved,” he said. “It’s great.”
Those interested in learning more about the project or getting involved are encouraged to visit the initiative’s Facebook page.