Local success story: Dog park group celebrates four years

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake’s off-leash dog park is a nice thing for the community. It’s enjoyed by many, looks good and makes a positive impression.

Things like this are easy to take for granted. But of course it took (and still takes) the dedicated efforts of a group of volunteers and their supporters.

Called Landon Persson Park (in memory of a young boy who lost his life, and in recognition of the memorial fund in his name that contributed to the establishment of the park), it is located next to 6th Ave. SE near ‘the oxbow’ in a piece of empty town property.

People had been proposing uses for the land for years. But none of those ideas got any legs under them.

Then along came a group of dog owners with a vision for an off-leash park. They formed a non-profit society, got permission from the town and commenced raising funds. Four years ago, in September, the park opened, and people started bringing their dogs and turning them loose inside the fence.

“Daily use has increased exponentially over the last few years,” says board member Rebecca King.

Speaking of the board, it’s the same people who started out, minus a couple who have resigned. More would be welcome, King says.

The board is responsible for maintenance, keeping up insurance, fundraising and so on. The Town of Slave Lake helps out by cutting grass and emptying garbage, but it is not a town facility.

The fire department also helped out for a couple of years, watering newly planted trees. ATCO Electric was another supporter, installing solar-powered lights.

Continued support from the community is vital. Speaking of which, a 50/50 raffle is happening right now, with a draw date of Nov. 30.

“Tickets can be purchased from any board member, at The Fix, or at Susan’s Kitchen in the MRC,” King says.

As far as maintenance goes, board member Terry Blanchette says most users of the park are doing a good job.

“People have been really good,” he says, “picking up after themselves.”

And in general, the facility seems to be well appreciated.

“Ninety-nine per cent of the feedback has been positive,” Blanchette says.

The board of the Slave Lake Dog Park Society, l. to r., Terry Blanchette, Rebecca King, future board member Logan Persson, Coralee Persson, Sherry Villeneuve. Missing is Dan Schmode. The off-leash park turned four years old last month and the board wants to both thank the community for all the support, and remind people of what it takes to maintain such a facility.

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