A city councillor wants more bark in Voyageur Park — and he doesn’t mean trees.
Coun. Grant Nordman (St. Charles) is entertaining the idea of turning Voyageur Park into an off-leash dog park.
Nordman said the four-acre park has been mostly vacant and unused for many years. There are currently playground structures in Voyageur Park, but not for long, as they will be removed later in the year. Nordman explained the existing playground structures in the park are redundant because the park is next door to Voyageur School (37 Voyageur Ave.) which has three structures.
In addition to the removal of the structures coming up soon, Nordman sees two outcomes for Voyageur Park.
"We can put the park in service as an off-leash dog park, or we can declare the park surplus, sell it to a developer and, based on six to seven homes an acre, put 25 homes," Nordman mused.
However, Nordman prefers the former option.
"My first choice would be to leave it as green space, absolutely," Nordman said. "People already take their dogs and let them run free, it’s not like it’s not happening already."
Nordman said his focus right now is to get going on a community consultation process, which is likely to happen in mid-June.
"I know there’s two dozen houses that are close to backing onto the park that are not happy about (the idea of an off-leash dog park)," Nordman said. "But then, there’s hundreds, if not thousands, of people with dogs in the ward. And I know that because when I knock on people’s doors, the dogs come first," he added with a laugh.
If most of the constituents in the ward are for it and the proposal goes through, Nordman said the park will be fenced appropriately, and there will be walking paths and parking available. Fencing is expected to cost about $50,000.
"It’s not like we’re going to just say, ‘OK, folks, who let the dogs out?’ It’ll be a secure area. We calculated it’s 2,500 feet of fencing," Nordman said.
Right now, there are two nearby off-leash dog parks available to locals: Little Mountain Park in the RM of Rosser and Charleswood Dog Park, south of Grant Avenue at the corner of William Clement Parkway. Nordman said the problem with those parks is that it’s a long drive away for many.