Editorial-Off Leash Dog Park

Fernie dog owners, rejoice! After years of hard work and planning, not to mention several different trial parks, the Fernie Off Leash Dog Park Project is putting a paw forward.

On behalf of the Fernie Pets Society, Pierre Dupont and Leslie Lowe showed off their tentative plans for a fenced-in park at the base of the Ridgemont hill at a City Council meeting on January 13. After weighing the few cons and many pros, Council directed staff to work with the Society to delineate an area for the park on City-owned property between the Skateboard Park and 13th Street. They will also be getting ready to enter into a lease agreement with the Society.

Although the general response from Council was positive, there are some kinks to be worked out. Part of the proposed area is currently used as a snow dump, which will need to be relocated, or a plan for the two to co-exist will be needed. The decision needs to made whether existing area trails are incorporated into the park, or left outside fence lines for those who many not want to add a dog park into their regular walking/running route. And extra space to allow for parking will need to be looked into.

Regardless of the work, fundraising, planning, and construction that still lies ahead, it seems safe to say this is a much needed and highly-anticipated addition to Fernie. For a town where it seems everyone you pass on the street is accompanied by at least one, if not two or three, furry friends, it’s about time!

A dog park will provide a safe, secure place for owners to socialize their dog with others, practise walking off a leash, and let them run loose without any worries.

While the plans still need a lot of work, the Fernie Pets Society hopes to include benches, picnic tables, covered areas, trails, and a possible water feature. This is not going to be your average big-city park that covers a block. The Fernie Dog Park promises to be a place where you can actually go for a walk and socialize yourself while your best friend(s) roams free. This will be a park to be enjoyed equally by dogs and humans.

This is just the first step for the future Fernie Dog Park. They have already begun the process of applying for funding, but every penny counts. To donate to the Fernie Off-Leash Dog Park Project, go to www.ferniepets.org.