FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John City Council has approved plans to build a proposed off-leash dog area in Toboggan Hill Park.

At Monday’s meeting, councillors voted in favour of a resolution to award the tender for the park and its associated facilities to Knappett Industries for $705,947, which was the lowest of the three bids that the City received for the project.

Council also voted in favour of allocating $368,000 from the City’s Gas Tax Reserve towards the cost of the project, which is now budgeted at $868,000.

In addition to the nearly $706,000 contractor costs, the City has also budgeted $112,000 for consulting and project management and $50,000 as a contingency.

At the last Council meeting on July 23rd, Council deferred a decision on whether or not to proceed with building the dog park and its associated amenities after the lowest tendered bid for the project came in over the City’s $500,000 budget for the project.

Though Council voted in favour of getting a report from staff that included the scope of work for the park and their associated costs, staff were not able to provide that detailed cost estimate because of constraints under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Despite the fairly large increase in the project’s cost, councillors cited the feedback residents gave during the City’s public engagement process earlier this year about their desired features of the dog park, as well as the positive benefits the new off-leash park would provide for Toboggan Hill Park and the City as a whole as reasons for supporting the park’s construction.

In their report, staff said that work on the park will start this year and continue while weather permits. Funds for the remaining work will be carried over into the 2019 budget cycle, with the new dog park scheduled to be complete by next Spring.