Fort St. John looking for consultants to plan new dog park

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The City of Fort St. John has issued a Request for Proposals from consultants as it looks to build a new off-leash dog park and expand the existing area in Toboggan Hill Park.

The RFP was issued by the City on Wednesday, with a deadline to submit proposals by February 15th. In a draft of the 2018 Capital Budget, $500,000 has been set aside for the development of off-leash parks after several issues were encountered last year.

The City’s General Manager of Community Services Wally Ferris said that the City received a number of complaints about dogs being off leash in the Fish Creek Community Forest area. Ferris said that City staff decided to make dog parks a priority after dog owners made the case that there was a lack of off-leash parks in the City.

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Ferris said that though the 2018 Capital Budget has not yet been officially approved by Council, it was approved in principle at the last Council meeting on January 8th. The City has issued the RFP in anticipation of the budget being approved, but Ferris said that the RFP can be cancelled at any time if a problem arises.

According to Ferris, there are a number of items that need to get looked at before building a new dog park.

“A lot of people say ‘there’s not much to a dog park, slap up a fence,’ but there’s a little more to it,” said Ferris. “You need to make sure that the in and out gates are appropriate. You need to make sure there’s parking. You need to make sure there’s shade and water for the animals. So there’s a fair amount that goes into a good dog park. We want to make sure that we build a proper park that will be well-used and enjoyed by residents for a long time.

If all goes according to plan, Ferris said that once a consultant is selected, consultations with residents on the location and other aspects of the new park and upgrades to the existing park could begin as soon as March.

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