Creston will soon have its own off-leash dog park, after town council approved a location presented at the Aug. 13 regular council meeting.
The option chosen is about 1,400 square metres (0.35 acres), an L-shaped area adjacent to the Steve’s Ride trailhead off Cedar Street. That space is big enough to create an environment suitable for many types of dogs and their owners, said engineering manager Colin Farynowski in a presentation to council.
“You should always consider the needs of the dogs themselves,” said Farynowski. “Some are very shy, others are rambunctious in nature. … You’ve got a space you can have the Frisbee-chasing German shepherd in one corner and the little Shih Tzu that may be sensitive in another.”
Two other downtown options presented to town council included the 801-square metre (0.2-acre) north portion of the approved option, and a 564-square metre (0.14-acre) chunk of that was the smallest. A fourth option was Shikurski Park, which lacks water and isn’t part of the town’s trail system.
A 45-metre long dog run, located across the trail and alongside the CP Rail tracks, may also join the off-leash area. It would be five metres wide, and suitable for playing fetch.
The dog run isn’t guaranteed, though, because Rotary will be installing outdoor gym equipment in the middle of the Y formed by Steve’s Ride and the trail parallel to the train tracks, and it may spill onto the east side of the trail.
Coun. Scott Veitch, also the Creston Rotary Club president, felt that the gym plans wouldn’t interfere with the dog run.
“Rotary will agree with whatever,” said Veitch.
The cost of developing the area — fencing alone is $5,640 in the approved option — will include resurfacing, grading, adding drainage and separating it from the trail by means of landscaping. The latter doesn’t necessarily mean blocking the fence entirely with trees, as “changes in topography can reduce the need for spatial separation,” Farynowski’s presentation stated.
It will be covered by part of a $400,000 grant from the Ministry of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development’s community recreation program, awarded last year. That grant was about 80 per cent of funding for improvements made to Creston’s trails, with the town, and the Creston and Creston Valley Rotary clubs adding $80,000 to the project.
Regular trail users will soon notice the space being readied for its new use.
“This fall, we’ll prep the areas for the off-leash dog park and the gym equipment,” said Farynowski.
The unpaved trails in the area between the CP Rail tracks and 11th Avenue South will be paved next year, with the installation of benches and lighting slated for 2015.
After approving the dog park location, council also directed staff to ask the Community Ministry if the scope of the grant could be modified to allow some of the $178,500 portion dedicated to lighting to be used in another aspect related to the grant. Rather than having lighting along the trails, council hoped that lighting could instead be installed only at the trailheads, and the dog and bike parks.
Staff had already spoken to the Creston RCMP, which expressed no concerns over having unlit trails.