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Town’s capital budget gets a boost

A location for a dog park in St. Paul has been approved by town council.
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ST. PAUL - A move by Town of St. Paul CAO Kim Heyman to “err on the side of caution” has paid off for the municipality’s capital budget to the tune of $708,000. 

“At the time of the capital budget I was unable to confirm if the $708,000 Stimulus Grant had been accounted for in the 2020 capital budget, from the GOA’s perspective,” Heyman told council on June 28, adding that she has since received confirmation that it was not and as such St. Paul could add it to this year’s capital budget.  

Heyman presented council with a shopping list for the extra funds which includes a new skid steer for Public Works, replacement of one-and-a-half blocks of sewer pipe in front of the Town office, a new mower for the golf course, paving the Centennial Seniors Centre parking lot, and fencing for a new dog park, among other items, leaving $291,556 to be put into reserves for a new ice plant for the Clancy Richard Arena and the curling rink. 

The ice plant’s expected end of life is 2025 and will mean an estimated $1 million cost to the Town at that time. 

Dog park location approved 

St. Paul dogs will have a park to call their own with a move by Town of St. Paul council to take it off the backburner and move forward with providing dog owners with a fenced area to exercise their pets.  

While Kendelstick Park was a tentative location initially being considered when the concept of a dog park was first discussed, some new site options were discussed by council, including establishing it on town industrial land east of Sec. Hwy. 881. However, its proximity to the highway, access and parking all raised some red flags for council.  

During the last regular council meeting, Coun. Ron Boisvert suggested the existing area known as Lavoie Park situated in the Town’s southeast along Lakeshore Drive might provide the best option. 

“I don’t see much activity anytime I go past there. The size of that park would be a nice size for a dog park,” Boisvert said, adding its proximity to the walking trail also made it a suitable location. 

Coun. Nathan Taylor agreed, adding “I don’t know anybody who would want to go running out to the highway with their dog. I certainly don’t want us to be taking away industrial land – it’s starting to immediately say, even before we’re off the ground there, we don’t think industrial’s going to come. I don’t know that industrial wants to come if there’s a dog park there that they are starting to hear complaints about.” 

When it came to a vote, Lavoie Park received council’s support. 

The area will be fenced with the suggestion that the playground equipment be separately fenced to allow children to continue to enjoy that area. 

“A small fence around the kid’s play area might be reasonable, so with big puppies roaming around they don’t bowl the little guys over,” Heyman said. 

Councillor speaks against his motion 

Following a motion by Boisvert to give administration direction to get a quote associated with the cost of Town adding a privately-owned quarter-section of land southeast of the intersection of Sec. Hwy. 881 and Hwy. 29 to the Area Structure Plan, he then chose to speak about why such a move wasn't a good idea. 

“I thought it might be the perfect time to get that done at the same time as the others (on the north side of Hwy. 29) and this property is 80 acres on the south side but after Kim got back to me indicating a traffic study (would be required), those are about $20,000 to $30,000 – so it wouldn’t make any sense to do that. Besides that, it’s up to the developer to get an area structure plan done at that time.” 

The area in question was recently given rezoning approval from the Town for General Commercial District (C2), from its previous status as Controlled Urban Development District (CUD). 

“On my side, I just think it’s the owner’s responsibility to do anything with that property and it’s not something the Town should be, I’d say, saddled with. I think it’s the developer’s or owner’s responsibility to move forward with,” Coun. Gary Ward said. 

Coun. Norm Noel agreed saying he would “hate to see us setting a precedence by doing this. All of sudden, we may have previous developers coming back and wanting a refund and we might have future developers wanting us to pay for their plans, so I think that, Ron, your recommendation is correct.” 

The motion was subsequently defeated. 

Clare Gauvreau

About the Author: Clare Gauvreau

Clare Gauvreau has worked for the St. Paul Journal for more than 20 years as a journalist, editor and publisher. In her role today as newspaper publisher she continues to contribute news and feature articles on a regular basis.
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