Council rejects request for fence around 'dangerous' dog park

There will be no fence separating off-leash dogs from traffic in what pet owners in north Edmonton call a dangerous dog park.

City policy forbids fences around mixed-use parks

Dog owners who use the popular Grand Trunk off-leash area want the city to fence in the park. (Facebook)

There will be no fence separating off-leash dogs from traffic in what pet owners in north Edmonton call a dangerous dog park.

A committee of dog owners asked city council to erect a fence around Grand Trunk Park, which is adjacent to two busy roads.

"It's one of the most used dog parks in North Edmonton, but also the most dangerous," said Ken Zahara with the Grand Trunk off-leash dog park committee.

Members of the committee said they've seen dogs run into the road and they've heard of at least three dogs that have been killed.

The off-leash dog park backs onto 127 Avenue and 113A Street; two busy roads. Some residents say the traffic is a danger to their pets.
Zahara said his committee has priced out a standard chain link fence at about $70,000.

While a few councillors floated the idea of funding the fence, Linda Cochrane, the general manager of community services, urged them to hold off.

She said off-leash parks are controversial and suggested council should hear from the entire community before making a decision.

"I'm afraid if we act on this … the longer term interest of dogs off leash will be compromised," she told the community services committee Monday.

Fences in multi-use parks are against city policy. Cochrane's department is in the process of reviewing all their policies in regards to all 40 of the city's off-leash parks and the results are expected by the end of the year.

"They should have done that 20 years ago," Zahara said after the meeting. "They're way behind."

If the review comes out in favour of fences, the earliest the city would install one in Grand Trunk would be 2016.

Dogs will be dogs

Zahara said every city and town in the Edmonton area, including St. Albert, already fence their off-leash parks.

The city's current policy also states that it's up to owners to control their dogs in off-leash parks, but Coun. Dave Loken said he thinks that's unreasonable.

"As well as you think your dog is trained, they're dogs," Loken said.

As the owner of an easily distracted golden retriever, Loken said he shared the concerns of the dog owners from Grand Trunk.

He said he considered approving the money needed for a Grand Trunk fence, but said the city should finish its review first.

"We can't just react to one certain situation, we have to look at the entire picture here," he said.

He plans to go to the park and speak to people in the area to find out of the majority of the community is in favour of a fence.


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