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Dog park proponent worries cause is dwindling

Amy Badgley worries her push for a dog park to be created in Inuvik will be forgotten if she can't find someone else to lead the charge at town council meetings while she's away at school this year. She said a park would ensure dogs like hers, named Malibu, can run around in a safe place without the risk they'll run away. Kirsten Fenn/NNSL photo

A young woman who wants a dog park created in Inuvik worries her cause will be forgotten if she can't find someone to push the idea forward when she heads back to university this fall.

Last August, dog owner Amy Badgley sent a letter to Inuvik town council urging them to consider a safe place for pups to roam without running away or being subject to hazards on trails.

She suggested a number of empty lots around town – near Ingamo Hall, on Ruyant Crescent, Wolverine Road and Bompas Street.

When Badgley arrived home from school in B.C. this summer, she pitched her idea with some success at a council meeting and was asked to come back with more information.

But now she's heading back down south for a fresh semester on Sept. 2.

“I've found a couple people who would possibly be interested in going to the town and speaking with them while I'm gone to university,” Badgley said. “But my biggest concern is that it will be forgotten another year and another year and another year and just never happen.”

Badgley, who has a husky-mix named Malibu, said there are no fenced in areas in town where animal lovers can bring their canines to blow off energy.

She wants a dog park so pet owners don't have to worry about their dogs running into bears, stepping on glass or getting their noses in things they shouldn't.

“If there was a dog park area, it might help clean up some of the town's concerns about dog poop being in children's parks and on the sides of the roads,” Badgley added.

Mayor Jim McDonald said council has given the issue thought.

The biggest challenge, he said, is finding a suitable location.

He suggested a viable option is the soccer field near Ruyant Crescent, which has heaved from frost and could be repurposed.

“There's a fair bit of space along the river on what we refer to as the old town airstrip and, of course, down by the boat launch,” McDonald added.

But they would need a fair amount of work, he said, and fencing is expensive.

“The town doesn't have any money this year, budget-wise, to do a lot,” McDonald said, adding ideas would have to go to council first.

Based on her own research, Badgley estimated fencing could cost $6,000, plus another $6,000 in shipping from Edmonton or Whitehorse.

She envisions a dog park with 900 feet of fencing, preferably in a central location in town.

It would contain an area for owners to bag dog litter, two garbage bins and possibly a shelter for owners to sit under when it rains.

“It would have two decompression areas where you could take your dog in one area, let it out and then open the actual gate to the dog park,” said Badgley, whose ideas were influenced by a dog park in Nanaimo, B.C.

Grass seed, landscaping and gravel for the area could cost $2,500, she said.

But she stressed other options could be considered – residents could look at different shipping companies, request donated fencing or time from local businesses, and fundraise to cover expenses.

“Inuvik is incredible for their community support,” Badgley said. “If this is something that people in Inuvik really want to see happen ... I know Inuvik can make it happen.”