Later this year Burns Lake residents might be able to let their furry pets run free in a new dog park.
The village council discussed in a meeting on Jan. 29 the technicalities of a possible dog park after Burns Lake resident Lynn Synotte recently proposed the idea.
Synotte’s committee – which includes Tracey Payne and Nicole Gerow – has suggested the park site be the old Dick Schritt Ball Park, near the CN railway line.
The idea came to Synotte at a Lakes Economic Diversification Project meeting at the College of New Caledonia last year, she told Lakes District News.
“Practically every town along Highway 16 has a dog park. It was amazing how many people jumped on it at the Lakes District Economic Diversification Project,” she said.
Such a park could “attract tourism and make the community more pedestrian friendly and become a little more upscale.”
“We would like it to be big enough that a dog could run off leash. We’d like to put in a couple of benches there and trees, and have a nice grass area, and water available,” Synotte said.
Her group has spoken with the Animal Friendship Society about a partnership for the project, which she hopes can open in July or August.
In discussing the details of the proposal, director of public works Dale Ross told the council the ball park site is suitable for the project because it’s flat and a lot of traffic passes by there.
However, he noted that the site is “right where the train horn blasts the loudest. I know my dog goes crazy whenever we’re near that area and the trains are going past.”
CAO Sheryl Worthing pointed out that in the past the council has looked into the possibility of having CN stop the whistle blowing but discovered that asking CN about it involves a complex process.
“We have to have a reason to stop it. CN won’t just say ‘this community doesn’t like it and we’ll stop there’. For them it’s a liability issue,” Worthing said.
CN owns the lands of the baseball diamond and has for several years been leasing it to the Burns Lake Rotary Club for $2,500 a year. Last year the Rotary Club ended that agreement.
The railway firm is willing to negotiate the terms to install the dog park and if the plan goes ahead the village would take over the lease and use it as a green space and would have to maintain it throughout the year.
The council agreed to receive the CN Lease Agreement-Dog Park Report and that it would ask for the proposal from Synotte’s committee.