On May 3, the Fernie Pets Society hosted an open house at the Valley Social to announce that a proposed off-leash dog park in Ridgemont neighbourhood would be open to two and four-legged users this summer.
Pierre DuPont, spokesperson for the Fernie Pets Society explained that the 10-acre park is located at the bottom of Ridgemont Avenue and will one-day be a fenced area with a list of impressive resources for dogs including play areas, training areas and water park for hot summer days.
For now it’s just an empty field by the train tracks but it is still a place where dogs are allowed off-leash, just as in the other unfenced off-leash areas in town.
The Fernie Pets Society has been working to complete the project since 2011. The park is being designed by Leslie Lowe of Beargrass Landscape Architecture who also designed the dog park in Whitefish, Montana.
DuPont said the total budget for the project is $500,000 and the society has fundraised about a fifth of that amount. Paving the existing Kootenay Elk Trail and fencing the area are the two largest expenses.
Last year the Fernie Pets Society signed a land-use agreements with BC Hydro and the City of Fernie to allow construction of the park to begin. The society spent an estimated $38,000 on the park and DuPont said they’ll spend a similar amount this year.
He also explained why Fernie needs an off-leash dog park.
“This’ll be a place where you can legally walk your dog off-leash in Fernie,” he said.
“We have a couple of off-leash areas but they’re relatively undefined, they’re quite small and they’re unfenced,” he continued. “This is going to be a much larger area and there will be enough room for dogs to run and play.”