Cranbrook city council talked about crap on Monday night.
A proposed animal control bylaw amendment passed three readings that will create prohibited areas for dogs in park areas — such as sports fields — as the city has been wrestling with complaints over fecal matter deposits.
The prohibitions apply to just the sport field areas, playground areas, and ecologically sensitive habitat, such as Elizabeth Lake, where signage is posted. For example, a soccer field playing area or a ball diamond is prohibited, but the sideline areas are still acceptable, according to city staff.
Chris New, the Director of Corporate Wide Initiatives, noted the success of the dog park at the former Muriel Baxter school propoerty and said that the city has been looking at a fenced-in area for dogs at Moir Park.
“In staff discussions as well, we would see, certainly an opportunity for the Moir [Park] example, the perimeter area, or between fields, we could certainly colour-code a map to say ‘Here’s the routes you can follow’
“It’s just we’re quite sensitive with the field-playing surfaces. It’s not surprising to sometimes go by the ball diamonds, especially in the winter, people get in the side gates, they’re parking their vehicles and dogs are running around the fenced fields.
“It’s hygiene, it’s kids slipping in dog feces, etc.”
Councillor Ron Popoff noted concerns about how the bylaw is going to be policed, while Councillor Norma Blissett emphasized the need for public awareness and education.
“I do think as long as we do a good advertising campaign on this, to promote it on social media and in the local papers, and signage, I think most people will comply and I think this is a very good bylaw,” Blissett said. “I’m a dog owner, I understand people want to take their dogs everywhere, however, a few people not cleaning up — it’s quite traumatic for children to have this.
“…They don’t want to come into school with that on their shoes and it’s not okay.”
Popoff reiterated his support for the bylaw conditional to its enforcement, and said irresponsible dog owners won’t change their behaviour without being hit with fines. He also suggested reaching out to youth sports organizations that use those fields for help policing behaviour.
Councillor Mike Peabody was the lone vote against the bylaw amendment.