The Town of Comox has declared the Northeast Woods to be a leash-free zone, after recent confrontations between dogs and an aggressive elderly couple. Photo by Terry Farrell The Town of Comox said people may encounter leash-free dogs in the Northeast Woods after recent confrontations between dogs and an aggressive elderly couple. Photo by Terry Farrell

Comox council allocates $20,000 for dog park consultation

With interim measures in place, Comox council has decided to proceed with allocating up to $20,000 for a public consultation process regarding the feasibility of a dog park within the town.

Earlier this month, council voted unanimously to proceed with a consultation process which may include surveys and public meetings.

At a council meeting last week, Coun. Alex Bissenger raised her concerns over the amount the Town has allocated consultation.

Comox Mayor Russ Arnott said if the cost goes above $25,000, the Town would have to go through a request for proposals process.

RELATED: Comox council turning to public for feedback on possible dog parks

“We should keep it under in order to speed up the process,” he added, but said he wants to keep the process in place, as he’s heard from members of the public that they would like to have a consultation.

Coun. Ken Grant noted he understands the contentious nature of a dog park, and believes it is time for the Town to have a proper consultation process.

“Over the years, this has come up and now it’s time.”

In his report to council earlier this month, the Town’s superintendent of parks Al Fraser examined costs, core infrastructure, amenities, size, location, dog behaviour, health risks and local impacts. He added staff had a close look at every public park within the Town’s jurisdiction and determined two locations – the Northeast Woods and Village Park (Comox Community Centre).

Fraser said the approximate budget for establishing an off-leash area at the Northeast Woods would be $7,000 to $10,000; he estimated a fenced dog park would be approximately $50,000 to $75,000 at the Village Park site, depending on the number of design features incorporated.

In a report to council, Richard Kanigan, the Town’s chief administrative officer said in response to the signs at the Northeast Woods installed, they have received both positive and negative comments from the community.

He suggested that council provide direction on holding a public process, and estimated it would cost between $20,000 to $30,000 to facilitate such a process.

Initially, a motion was put forth to spend up to $15,000, but after some inquiry, Town staff suggested $20,000 would be an appropriate amount.

Town planner Marvin Kamenz explained much of cost comes down to timing – whether services would be done via contract or done in house.

After the initial motion failed, Grant then suggested a motion to allocate up to $20,000; the motion was passed with Coun. Nicole Minions voting in opposition.

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