The Fernie Railyard Dog Park will see further development thanks to a generous donation from The Fernie Fox Hotel last week.
On May 22, Fernie’s newest hotel donated $5,000 to the Fernie Pets Society to go towards the off leash dog park.
“We are thrilled to receive this donation and the ongoing support of the Railway Dog Park,” said Pierre Dupont, Fernie Pets Society president. “The money will be used to offset the costs associated with fencing the perimeter of the park, ensuring separation with traffic and pedestrians, and providing a contained space for socialization.”
The Railyard Dog Park is a volunteer run and donor supported undertaking. The Fernie Pets Society has been devoted to developing the Railyard Dog Park since 2016. Expansion efforts began with widespread brush clearing, followed by seeding of the area with dog friendly plants and grasses. More than a kilometre of paved trails, benches, and waste stations were also installed, as well as a temporary parking area to improve accessibility.
The Fernie Pets Society is currently working toward installing fencing to make it a safer space for both pets and owners. According to Aysha Haines, director of the Fernie Pets Society, the society currently has roughly 1,000 metres of fencing that will be installed in June. However, the society still needs to raise $30,000 to complete the fencing project. Haines noted that the donation from the Fernie Fox Hotel is a big step toward reaching their goal.
“We see the Railyard Dog Park as a tremendous asset for the community’s residents and visitors. Knowing that many of our guests also travel with their pets, having a safe space for them to exercise and socialize their dogs is important to us,” said Jeremiah Pauw, who co-owns the Fernie Fox Hotel with Marina Pauw. “But most importantly, we recognize the value of building community based assets and infrastructure for maintaining Fernie as a healthy and vibrant community, and this is why we have made the donation to the Fernie Pets Society.”
At the moment, the Fernie Pets Society is raising funds to complete the park’s parking area, which will require approximately $65,000 in additional funding. According to Haines, the completion of the parking lot will likely take a year or more to complete, but remains a priority as it allows for greater accessibility to the park. Haines continues to work in hopes of turning the park into a gathering space for the residents of Fernie, as well as visitors with dogs.
Currently, the Railyard Dog Park has lifted its leash requirement, as it is deemed to have enough space to allow for physical distancing. According to Liz Rhodes, communications coordinator for the City of Fernie, the Annex Dog Park maintains its leash requirement because the park is located in the middle of an on leash trail system.