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Updated: 18th September 2018 22:33

Dogfight brews over plans for paved pathway near Shouldice park in northwest Calgary

A decision to put a paved pathways through a Calgary-owned chunk of land in the northwest has some residents seeing red, even though the city thought it was compromising to make everyone happy.

Residents worry a bike path along the riverbank will lead to conflicts between dog owners and cyclists

Dog owners who walk their animals near Shouldice Athletic Park are upset at the city's plans to build a pathway through the area. (Crouchy69/Flickr)

A decision to put a paved pathways through a city-owned chunk of land in the northwest has some residents seeing red, even though the city thought it was compromising to make everyone happy.

The area in question is near Shouldice Athletic Park — south of 13th Avenue N.W. — and is often referred to by those who use it as the Shouldice Off-Leash Area.

The trouble is that while the land is well-used for that purpose, it has never been zoned a city dog park.

Residents are now worried a pathway slated to run along the riverbank will compromise access to the water, cause conflicts between cyclists and dog owners and destroy the natural beauty of the area.

Coun. Druh Farrell says the city took those concerns seriously.

"The area is quite large and so we have come up with a compromise where the bicycle pathway will be near the road and far away from the river bank and then there's a pedestrian only pathway adjacent to the riverbank," she said.

"I think it's a good compromise."

The area is a green space south of 13th Avenue N.W., near Shouldice Athletic Park. (Google Maps)

Park user Marion Westoll says many remain dissatisfied and have concerns about the environmental impact.

"Once you disrupt coyote habitat you are asking for a whole basket of problems," she said.

Several dog owners have also taken to a Facebook forum to express concerns.

They are also starting petitions asking the area be kept as is, without the paved pathways. 

The city says construction is scheduled to begin in the spring.

With files from Elissa Carpenter

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