April 13, 2016

(Left to right) Chris New, Director of Leisure Services – City of Cranbrook; Chris Johns, Trustee – School District 5; Joe Tank, Manager of Operations – School District 5; Naomi Humenny, Bylaw Services Officer – City of Cranbrook; Mayor Lee Pratt; Beamer Girvin; Charlie with Councillor Isaac Hockley; Councillor Ron Popoff.

Cranbrook, BC (April 13, 2016) – For decades our kids have had their own parks and playgrounds to explore, play with friends and enjoy the outdoors – but not our canine companions.  Today, that changed with the official grand opening of the City’s off-leash dog park at the former Muriel Baxter School site, thanks to a partnership with School District 5 (SD5) and the City of Cranbrook.

“I am very pleased that the City was able to partner with the School District and provide this much needed and appreciated amenity for dog lovers and dog owners,” says Mayor Lee Pratt.  “The central location and already existing park-like setting has also saved the city and taxpayers many dollars in costs associated with developing other alternatives.”

SD5 Board Chair Frank Lento says it is collaborations like this one that make our community stronger.

“When politicians stop looking at who’s responsible for what and simply look at what is needed, we strengthen our foundation as a community,” Lento says, adding “that’s the power of partnership.”

Both the School District and the City had partnered on a number of recreational projects including the redevelopment of the Mount Baker tennis courts.   The School District proposed to the City that if the municipality was interested in managing the vacant Muriel Baxter property as a dog park, they would provide access to the site. 

For nearly a decade the City had been looking for a location for a dog park, considering both Moir Centennial Athletic Park and even the Moir Park gravel pit once reclamation work was complete.  Input from residents supported a decision to try finding a more central location.  A decision by City Council in April 2015 reallocated funds earmarked for the Moir site to redeveloping the Muriel Baxter school site.

“Dog park development is one of the highest growth amenities in park systems across North America,” says Chris New, Director of Leisure Services for the City of Cranbrook.  “Our residents were looking for this option within our own park system.   We were also looking to provide options for dog friendly areas because we are having challenges with residents running their pets on prohibited areas like sports fields and ball diamonds.”

Staff will continue to look at opportunities to create other dog friendly areas throughout the City.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the rules around dog park access.   Information signage is posted at the Muriel Baxter dog park and can be found online here - Muriel Baxter Off-Leash Dog Park.

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