Kitimat Councillor Claire Rattée, now in her third full month in local government, is already aiming for changes to benefit one of the lesser remembered local constituents: dogs.
More specifically Rattée is looking ahead at a goal to get a dog park installed somewhere in town.
A dog owner herself, Rattée has felt the need for a dedicated dog park since she moved to Kitimat approximately three years ago. She was impressed with the recreational opportunities in Kitimat but was bothered by no dog park.
“I realized so many people around here have dogs,” she said. “I think now more so than ever before people are thinking of them as their children, I know that’s how I am.”
Rattée has two pit bulls and her own personal problem is that it’s hard to let them run free due to some people’s fear of the breed given their stereotype of being aggressive.
“I own two pitbulls, so for me it’s really difficult because there is a huge stigma attached to them and my dogs are the sweetest things in the world but people don’t get to know them,” she said.
She’s had to make special allowances to get them outside to burn off their energy.
“I started taking them out at two in the morning to the Nechako school field because that was the easiest thing I could do because there was no one around to get mad at me for them being off-leash,” she said.
Other benefits to the general public in having a dog park is being able to keep resources around for people to clean up after their pets, which some pet owners don’t do when walking around town with their animals.
Rattée also believes establishing a dog park in Kitimat shouldn’t come at any great expense.
That said, she knows it’s not likely to get a dog park for Kitimat this year as the budget is in its final stretch for adoption.
The issue of the dog park will come up at the next Leisure Services Advisory Committee for discussion.
Among the questions that are still get be answered is whether a park is better suited up the hill or down the hill.
Of course the discussion has left some people asking her why not just use places like Radley Park or Hirsch Creek park.
Her answer is those places just aren’t as accessible.
“I don’t want to walk to Radley or Hirsch with my dog and I certainly don’t want them in the car when they’re muddy afterwards,” she said. Having places in town will just make it universally accessible for pet owners, she said.
“I think it will resolve a lot of