I would like to address the Town Council and the proposal to change the parameters of the Off Leash Dog Park next to the Bow River recently renamed the multi-use Jim Uffelmann Memorial Park.
This area has been a designated Off Leash Dog Park for decades. I personally have enjoyed the use of this park daily for 16 years. Dog owners in the thousands use this Park seven days a week, 12 months of a year, rain, snow, shine, +25 or -25. For many dog owners, it is the fact that dogs need walking that gets them up and out each day, keeping them fit and healthy.
Bikers, walkers, and others are currently not restricted from using this space as it exists and yet apparently this is insufficient for the handful of bikers who want exclusive access to the pathway. Bikers can enjoy this small section of 1.5 kilometres of pathway, meanwhile dog owners are restricted to 1.5 kilometres of pathway. Bikers have access to thousands of kilometres of trails, roads and pathways this is not an irrelevant fact.
If this is not convincing enough, I would add that dog owners have paid for the privilege and use of this off-leash dog park for decades and continue to do so through licensing fees of our animals.
Bikers have choice, dog owners do not. Bikers who wish to proceed with their request to restrict dog owners use of this pathway as it exists, are selfish, unreasonable and unjust. Bikers have many choices including thousands of kilometres of roads, trails and pathways that are readily available to them— They can find an alternative path to use, or they can continue to enjoy the pathway as it exists and simply SLOW DOWN to accommodate its many users. It is 1.5 kilometres. They can show a little courtesy and respect for the other people who too use this pathway. Dog owners have had to accept the fact that they lost their off-leash dog park and have to share this space. It is currently a multi-use park— Bikers too have to respect this fact.
If the Bikers wish to proceed to argue the need for a separate trail, I would suggest that they build and pay for their own pathway closest to the fence line as they do not use or need access to the river to pass through on their bikes. Dog owners, old and young enjoy access to the river as do the many dogs that enjoy being able to play in the water, get a drink, fetch a ball or go for a swim.
If the bikers insist on a pathway being put into this area, I and many others will insist and begin a petition that ALL BIKES in Cochrane be registered and a yearly fee applied that is proportionate in cost to the access of the property they are privileged to use (1,000’s of kilometers) for their enjoyment proportionate to that of dog licensing fees and the access to the property we are entitled to use (maybe two kilometers).
Should anyone on Town Council wish to discuss this matter more, please feel free to contact me.