Village officials brought up off-leash dog parks during a Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting of the Harrison Hot Springs Council held on Wednesday, Jan. 11.
The prospect of an off-leash dog park has not been part of official council discussion since last March. During last week’s CoW meeting, Coun. Michie Vidal moved to have village staff review the proposed McCombs Drive location and report costs to develop an off-leash dog park. This motion was withdrawn in favour of a more specific motion from Coun. John Buckley.
Buckley’s motion was to have village staff prepare a report about the costs of a basic off-leash dog park, including fencing, gates and separate areas for large and small dogs at McCoombs Drive and on the vacant land north of the village office about 1.5 kilometres away. The motion was carried unanimously.
This approach is somewhat similar to how the District of Kent approached off-leash dog park. The district officially opened the Pixley Land Off-Leash Dog Park last March, expanding the park to add a small dog section close to the intersection of Morrow Road and Pixley Lane that summer. Having a separate area for big and small dogs may also satisfy concerns from some village residents about big dogs attacking and potentially injuring smaller pets.
When a survey was conducted in the fall of 2021, nearly 9 in 10 residents of Harrison Hot Springs favoured an off-leash dog park in the village. The survey garnered 221 responses (14 of which were via paper copies). The McCombs Drive location was the preferred location of 20 per cent of respondents whereas Firehall Park, which is closer to the proposed locating north of Village Office, was the favourite of 40 per cent of respondents.
Most of the survey respondents wanted to spend between $50,000 and $75,000 on the off-leash dog park with the preferred maintenance costs being between $5,000 and $10,000 per year.
Further discussion or action on prospective off-leash dog parks in the village did not appear on the agenda for the regular Monday (Jan. 16) Village Council meeting.
In other CoW meeting business:
- Two motions related to rennovating the Village Office were withdrawn. Coun. Allan Jackson moved that staff investigate costs to rennovate the Village Office, expanding council chambers, adding three new offices, a lunch room, staf washrooms and a public washroom. Coun. Leo Facio moved to have village staff inviestgate the costs of a new standalone building for the Village Office, council chambers and washrooms.
- Council unanimously approved scheduling a council strategic plnaning sessions to identify priorities for this term.