Council to spend $12,100 improving off-leash dog park area

Plans for the off-leash area (Courtesy of the Prince Albert City Council website)

City council approved a motion to contribute $12,100 to invest in improvements to the off-leash dog park area during Monday’s executive committee meeting.

A report presented to council on April 11, by Tim Yeaman, Parks and Open Spaces Manager for the City of Prince Albert, outlined a work plan created to develop several off-leash areas around the City and consider what this will mean for the 2022 operating season. 

The first of several off-leash areas for dogs will be located on the East side of the City in the area by the Sewage Treatment Plant. This location is already recognized under ‘The Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw No. 13 of 2021’ and will be used as a template for future development of additional sites. This location is also home to Miller Hill Park, with Rotary Trail passing directly through. 

The money will be allocated from the 2022 Community Services Operating Budget and will go towards completing the park. This involves supplying garbage cans and doggie bag dispensers, improving the parking lot and cleaning some of the trails, and creating signage and benches. 

There are no immediate plans to erect a fence around the off-leash area to separate it from Miller Hill Park, but Yeaman said the Community Services Advisory Committee has suggested returning to the idea after the park has been established for one year to consider feedback. 

“I think [this] has to be a community project. Part of the strategy is to get this established, even through partnership and sponsorship, (and) working with our local doggy daycares, dog training businesses, and SPCA to see if there is a desire for them to get involved,” Yeaman said. “From what I discovered observing other communities that have off-leash areas, the dog community is huge and there are a lot of people that want to get involved.” 

Off-leash areas are beneficial to both dogs and their communities by allowing them to exercise and socialize safely, while promoting responsible dog ownership. Large, open space off-leash areas are also attractive to non-dog owners as places to recreate in a naturalistic setting. 

A plan to introduce off-leash areas to the City was initially suggested by Coun. Charlene Miller during a council meeting in December of 2019. At the time, Council expected a report on costs for the project in the near future. 

Yeaman said the area beside the Prince Albert Water Treatment Plant is being considered as the home of the next off-leash dog park, but a decision will not be made until the water treatment plant project is completed and the landscape has returned to its natural state.