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Long-time vacant North Calgary parcel to get a temporary dog park

LWC first reported on this story last October, and since then work has been ongoing to find a different use for the spot.

North Calgary residents will have more enclosed space to run their hounds as a long-time vacant space will become a temporary dog park this fall.

A five-acre parcel of land at Harvest Hills Blvd N and Country Hills Road NW, one that has had a sign that indicates a future LRT Park and Ride, will finally be used. 

The sign has been there for at least 25 years, a precursor for the Green Line LRT that will one day reach 96 Avenue.

Residents in the area have mocked the sign – and the vacant land – for years.

After our initial story on this area back in October 2022, work began to take shape to find a different, albeit temporary use for the plot of land.

On Monday, LWC received word a new, temporary off-leash area would be set up for the fall.

“Calgary Transit reached out to Parks to see what options we have to temporarily use this future park and ride space,” read an email response from Stephen Tauro with Calgary Transit.

“Parks came up with the idea of putting in a pop-up style, temporary dog park.”

Tauro said that the area will have temporary fencing and some waste bins. The anticipated installation date is September, he said.

“We will review feedback to see if it is being well used before determining how long it will remain in place,” Tauro wrote.

Other details around parking or how much of the area would be used for the off-leash area weren’t immediately available.

For the dogs

Area resident and former Northern Hills Community Association director David Hartwick suggested back in October that a dog park would be a good use.

He said the 60,000 people north of Beddington Trail don’t have a nearby off-leash area to run their dogs.

“The city has not designed the new communities in the north to be sustainable. We have to get in our cars for anything – including a dog park,” Hartwick said at the time.

Ward 3 Coun. Jasmine Mian said she was happy to see the city moving forward on this plan.

“I know residents are always asking for more space and I think having this underutilized land turned into a temporary off-leash area is a good thing,” she said.

Mian said that she gives full credit to the residents in the area. They’ve been talking about the land for a long time. She also said she’s happy to see the city step up, too.

“I applaud the community for using their voices on this and then also the city for being willing to think differently about some of the parcels that are underutilized,” she said.

Coun. Mian hopes it’s just the start of using underutilized parcels. There are even bigger files where this could be applied.  Plus, earlier this year, her colleague, Ward 12 Coun. Evan Spencer put forward a plan for the city to examine more asset-based community building.

This is an example of breaking through some of the silos in a big city bureaucracy, Mian said. Sometimes the system isn’t really set up well for interdepartmental collaboration.

“I think that the people within the system are starting to think differently and certainly that’s been something that council has asked a lot for, is, how do we think differently about these problems?” Mian said.  

“We can’t keep working in silos. We’re not going to get different outcomes. I think this is a really small example of that collaboration.”