The Town of Sylvan Lake is reminding lakegoers of some simple etiquette for their furry four-legged companions this summer.
A popular destination for some dog owners aiming to help their canines cool off, a large part of the lakefront along Lakeshore Drive — particularly that which lies within Provincial Park boundaries — is actually off limits to dogs.
With more and more complaints being filed, the Town is taking steps to ensure the no-dog rules are being followed, and is now increasing both awareness and enforcement in a bid to ensure compliance.
“This summer mostly, although we started to see it last year as well, we’ve been receiving a lot more complaints about the dog rule, and — since it is a rule — why it’s not being enforced,” said Town communications officer Joanne Gaudet. “Basically Council has directed staff, and staff spoke with both Parks staff and the RCMP and decided that there’s going to be a bit of a blitz about enforcing the rules a little bit more.”
To that end, the Town has begun distributing a pamphlet outlining where dogs are and aren’t permitted along the lakefront.
Within the Sylvan Lake Provincial Park, which encompasses the lakefront north of the boardwalk between the west side of the Pier and just beyond 34 Street, dogs are prohibited at all times, all year long.
Within Centennial Park, dogs are permitted on sidewalk areas, but only on a leash. They’re not allowed in the park’s grassy area, where people often enjoy picnics and other outdoor activities.
Provincial Park rules are beyond the Town’s control, but are in place to ensure visits to the lake remain enjoyable and incident-free for both people and their animals, said Gaudet.
“There’s so much activity with kids running around, there’s food everywhere, there’s all these new smells — even the best behaved of dogs can get overwhelmed and react in a way that we perceive as negative,” she said, adding the RCMP has already had to deal with a number of dog-related incidents this summer.
People and their dogs who infringe upon the rules will be asked to leave, said Gaudet, and could end up being fined.
“Most important in all of this is it’s a Provincial Park rule,” she said. “We just want to reinforce that it is the rule.”
Meanwhile, the Town’s Off-Leash Dog Park at the corner of Memorial Trail and 60 Street offers an area for dogs to roam leash-free.