At the special meeting of council last night (15 October) a final decision was taken as to the future of Bertold Park and the provision of off-leash facilities for dogs. It was a close thing when it came to the vote but it was finally decided that Bertold Park will become a “Shared Facility Park” and will adopt a slightly amended version of the proposal nominated Plan B at last week’s information session (see notes of that meeting available on this site).
- The western side of the park will be fenced for an off leash dog run.
- The eastern side is to be developed to provide “family” facilities with picnic tables and shore access etc
- No dogs, either on or off leash, will be permitted in the eastern side of the park unless they are being taken directly to or from the fenced area.
- A gated car parking area for people with dogs will be created at the northern end of the off-leash run.
- Use of the off-leash area will only be available to members of a group still to be formed – details of who is qualified to join this group and what fees might be incurred are yet to be decided. The question of allowing non-residents to become members is up in the air.
- There will be strict enforcement of the rules.
- The winter of 2018-2019 will be the last season that an ice rink for hockey will be built in the park.
In voting the councillors were divided and the final decision was taken by the Mayor using her casting vote. Councillors Lowensteyn, Beauchamp and Doherty were in favour of the park being an entirely family park with no dog provision plus the creation of a separate dog off-leash facility elsewhere in the town at an as yet unspecified location. Councillors Ryan, Phelps and Gilpin voted for the shared use described above. The Mayor supported the shared use option. All councillors gave detailed explanations of their decisions.
In her comments the Mayor hoped that the decision taken provides a “healing compromise” that will enable all users of the park to work together in the future.
Estimated costs of this project are in the region of $500K with additional expenses for enforcement once completed. It was noted that the creation of any off-leash facility elsewhere in the town would incur comparable costs. It was confirmed in answer to a question from the floor that no trees will be felled in the park.
A second special meeting of Council will be held on 23 October to approve the implementation plans and timeline that will now be finalised by administration staff, to appropriate funds from the town surplus and to enact certain amendments to relevant bylaws that will be needed. The project will then go to tender and installation of new, more attractive, fencing and the parking area will be done next spring. The current temporary fencing will remain throughout the coming winter.
In answer to a question from the floor about future locations for the ice rink we learned that the town is in discussion with local schools on this matter and will report details at some future time.