Council Poo Poos Dogs In Crescent Park

If you were hoping to take your dog to Crescent Park to enjoy the sunshine the answer remains no and the reason is simple – for council members who voted against it - too much poop elsewhere.

In a split vote Council decided not to direct City staff to remove signage disallowing dogs in what was described as “a jewel” of Moose Jaw. Additionally they voted against riding bicycles in the park as well.

The issue came up after a motion was put forward by Councillor Chris Warren to not only remove the prohibition for dogs but bicycles as well in Crescent Park. Councillor Warren's motion was designed to encourage not only bringing the family pet to the park but more use of the park and by doing that more people in the Downtown itself.

“It is the heart and soul of the community…we have to have the courage to try new things,” he said.

Speaking to his motion Councillor Warren said he had looked at other communities around Saskatchewan as well as Lethbridge, Alberta and how they allowed and encouraged bringing pets to their parks.

In Lethbridge he said that community had “little to no issues” and there was successful sharing of the parks with good numbers of people utilizing them.

Locally, he said the Wakamow Valley Authority allowed leashed dogs in their park with no major problems.

“There concern is many people use the Wakamow Valley as an off leash park.”

Councillor Warren said since putting his motion forward he had received feedback both in favour as well as opposed to allowing dogs into Crescent Park.

On the pro-side of the endeavour feedback was “most cities allow this” and “family friendly includes pets.”

On the con side the feedback was it was a inconvenience to seniors, a general dislike of dogs, cleaning up after dogs and the effect upon wildlife.

Councillor Warren spoke about the official Downtown Plan and how potentially bringing more people into the Downtown core by allowing dogs and bikes helped to accomplish this. The Downtown Plan also sees Crescent Park being better utilized as the plan envisions a promenade and more use. The plan envisions more Summer as well as Winter use of the park.

“Allowing dogs and bikes in Crescent Park makes that a reality.”

Bicycles and walking the family dog were also part of a healthier lifestyle Council was suppose to encourage.

“It encourages alternative forms of transportation,” he said, adding it would help attract as well as “aids in the retention of young families to the city.”

On the issue of criminal activity in Crescent Park – something many see as a growing problem – encouraging more people to use Crescent Park would actually help eliminate crimes. Natural surveillance would help thwart crime.

“Criminals don't like to be seen or recognized they are going to hide or escape.”

Councillor Warren sited a recent visit to Crescent Park for a family picnic and the small numbers of people he saw using the park. Each park user would have had over two acres of the 28 acre park to themselves.

Councillor Dawn Luhning said she supported the motion.

“I am jn favour of this motion. I have said before Crescent Park is underutilized.”

Councillor Luhning also stated as part of making Crescent Park there would need to be access to doggie pickup bags at all entrances as well as a couple inside the park as well.

However Councillor Heather Eby was the first council member to poo poo allowing dogs into Crescent Park. As an avid walker Councillor Eby said there were major problems with people cleaning up after their dogs.

“There is not a day I walk that I come across dog poop somewhere,” she said.

Councillor Eby stated there had been a concerted effort to have the City create dog parks a few years back with the promise from proponents to clean up after their dogs but at the present time it was being abused.

“Crescent Park is a jewel and I want it to stay a jewel.”

She said her family including grandchildren enjoyed visiting and picnicking in Crescent Park.

“I don’t want to sit for a picnic where a dog peed five minutes before.”

Councillor Eby said she was not concerned about allowing dogs and bikes into Crescent Park but “I am more concerned about the drugs.” Drug activity which was happening “not just at night.”

Recently the Moose Jaw Fire Department reported the majority of hazardous waste calls they are called out to is for drug paraphernalia – intravenous needles.

Councillor Scott McMann said he was opposed to the motion due to irresponsible dog owners and what he had witnessed first hand living adjacent parks where dogs were allowed.

Councillor McMann said he had seen “the lack of picking up (after their dogs) it isn’t followed very well.”

“There are other parks where people can take their bikes and dogs.”

Councillor Crystal Froese said she was “torn by this” going on to state “I don’t think the park is ready infrastructure-wise for bicycles “

Councillor Froese requested the motion to be split into two parts – one allowing dogs and one allowing bicycles.

Councillor Warren attempted to save his motion with the aforementioned crime deterring affect of more people utilizing Crescent Park as well as dogs would not be the only scat potentially in the park because ducks and deer are in Crescent Park.

“Donald and Bambi don’t get off scott free.”

In the end though both motions were defeated.

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