After many months of debate Cochrane council approved a new small/ large dog park for canine lovers.
Re-configuring the space should begin this summer which will provide relief to the overpopulated area by the river.
While it is not necessarily what some members of OLAG (Off Leash Advocacy Group) were hoping for, Julie Sharpe, member of OLAG, says the group felt satisfied that their long term goals were heard.
"We went into council not having high expectations, partially because we haven't had any 'wins' previous and so people didn't think they could expect any really big positive outcomes. But there were some messages in council's presentation that made us very happy. So ultimately are they going ahead with the proposal that we really didn't see as adequate?! Yes they are, they are going ahead with that proposal. The reasons for going ahead with that proposal though are reasons that people we're like 'yes' there needs to be more off-leash spaces in every community of Cochrane and that's our vision."
OLAG presented a very informative presentation to council outlying the importance of off-leash spaces in multiple communities for the 4439 registered dogs that call Cochrane home.
"If asking our questions in front of council is the way we get things done then perhaps that's what we continue to do. We wanted to be clear that OLAG wasn't a single issue advocacy group it wasn't just about this one proposal it was about the lack of off-leash spaces around Cochrane. Keeping up with the population demands, hitting our communities priority concerns; which number one was overcrowding at the off-leash park."
Being proactive and working with developers prior to homes being constructed is extremely important to the group, they understand the frustration homeowners felt with the original proposal.
"What you really need to do is establish these places and have them be developed and owned, with a sense of stewardship by the community before houses are built. So the person moving in knows it's there and they're comfortable with it."
Happy to hear council also approved fencing for another off-leash area was received well even they were originally told no by administration.
"They added additional fencing to go around the existing off-leash area down I believe by the west side of Highway 22 bridge. That little off-leash spot that barely ever gets used, people may not even realize its off-leash, because there's a real danger for dogs to run up to the highway from that location so they have agreed to fence that in and to make it an any dog area."
Sharpe, says in the end will everyone including the dogs be appeased with the decision, no, but she sums it up nicely. "For as diverse as dog owners are so are there dogs."
OLAG will now concentrate on their future role of helping get more off leash spaces in Cochrane communities.
The town shared Sunset Ridge, Heritage Hills, Fireside, and Southbow Landing are expected to see off-leash spaces eventually developed within the communities.
The new design of the dog park can be found here.