Sunday, March 11, 2007

Further on my blathering about dog parks

I've sent an email to my City Councillor about offleash dog parks and the dirth of them. I went searching through my emails this morning and found 2 old articles from the Chronicle Herald that are very interesting - I'll be very interested to get a reply back - here is what I wrote...

Hi there - I am trying to find out the status of a dog park that was proposed a couple years ago in a Chronicle Herald article that I'm going to paste below for you.

I live in your District and I'm an active off-leash advocate and have attended a couple of the off-leash strategy sessions and plan to attend the last one this coming Wednesday March 14th at the Forum.

Last Friday while walking my dog at Spectacle Lake I was aghast to come upon the new "All weather Dartmouth Sports Field" - and even more incensed when I found out it cost FOUR MILLION dollars to build. What really ticks me off is that 4 million dollars is being spent there and the CIty doesn't seem to see fit to empty the garbage bins or change one traffic light that points inward at Seaview Park - which as you know is one of the only 2 offleash parks in the whole of the HRM. Seaview right now is also an ungodly mud pit like you would not believe. Once the ground unthaws again it is going to be truly unbelievable.

With the work that's currently going on at Point Pleasant Park the dog owners in the HRM are going to be in quite a pickle for off-leash activity - and that is a huge problem. The HRM does not only need a long term off leash strategy - it needs a SHORT TERM off leash strategy. Truly.

Below are the articles I was talking about. If you could reply back, that would be super. I also sent the articles to John Charles for his information, although I don't know if he'll have any insight into them.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Joan Sinden

The Chronicle-Herald Metro, Monday, May 3, 2004, p. B1

New park has tails wagging; Off-leash dog trails, sports fields planned in $500,000 project

Amy Pugsley Fraser City Hall Reporter

Residents of Purcells Cove - both two - and four-legged - could soon have a new place to play.

The area between Whimsical and Williams lakes is sited for a new $500,000 park complete with soccer field, lacrosse box and off-leash dog trails.

"It's going to be great," Coun. Steve Adams said recently of the city park that would border his Spryfield-Herring Cove district. The great majority of the 22-hectare park lies within the neighbouring Purcells Cove-Armdale district and is seen by city staff as an adjunct to the 38 hectares of Sir Sandford Fleming Park.

"We really, really like the idea of expanding that park," parks and recreation general manager Peter Bigelow said in an interview.

The city did some work a few years ago with a community committee and the park has been given the go-ahead by both local and regional councils.

The property - off Purcells Cove Road - is an old provincial Transportation Department quarry.

The pit of the former quarry provides an ideal "active area" that is big enough for a soccer field and parking for about 80 cars, he said.

Staffers are also trying to shoehorn a lacrosse box into the plans now that the city's only one - built on Gorsebrook Field for the Canada Games in the mid-1970s - is too old to keep up.

But before anything goes ahead, the city has to sell some parkland to generate revenue to finance it, he said.

"It's kind of a business approach so that it's not so much of a tax burden," Mr. Bigelow said.

City officials are negotiating for the proper land assembly to finish out the park according to the plan that was put forward by a community steering committee, he said.

"It also has to come up in the queue in terms of competition for capital dollars, like everything else."

Dog lovers should be excited by the park, because it will provide an alternative place for their best friends to roam free.

Seaview Park and areas of Point Pleasant Park are now the only off-leash dog walks for city dogs.

"It does definitely provide an opportunity for them," Mr. Bigelow said.

"It will also help because we're not going to have Point Pleasant in the condition that it once was."

Designating some of the trails as dog-friendly from the park's inception is probably a good idea, he said.

It's one that came from Coun. Linda Mosher, who has been pushing for more off-leash dog areas for a while.

"Doing it this way, it won't create a conflict," the dog owner and councillor for Purcells Cove-Armdale said recently.

"If we opened an entire trail system and designated some sections (off-leash) and posted it, then there wouldn't be a conflict with existing users.

"People would use it knowing that there would be dogs off leash."

The community has already agreed on a concept plan that would have the active and passive recreation, natural park area, a soccer field, and proposed trails, she said.

"All we'd need is a designated width for the trail. We wouldn't have to do a lot of cutting."

Dog walker and canine enthusiast Janet Chernin thinks more off-leash areas in the municipality would be great.

"It's well-needed and it's long overdue," she said last week.

She's also excited that the park would provide a system of wooded trails.

"Seaview Park is more wide open so there aren't as many places to explore," she said.

Before the park goes ahead, the community would have to approve the proposed housing development in the area first, Ms. Mosher said.

And although it won't be in this year's budget, the goal would be to approve it for next year and get it going.

"It won't happen tomorrow," she said.

"But when it does, it's going to be great for everybody."


Council sets guidelines for dog parks

Council is sure to get more than tongues wagging by taking the first step Tuesday to establishing dog parks.

Councillors unanimously approved a list of guidelines that will govern how the municipality sets up its off-leash dog areas.

The dog-friendly spaces will first be established in areas that are most underserved, which puts peninsular Halifax - which already has off-leash areas in Point Pleasant Park and Seaview Park - at the bottom of the list.

According to the guidelines, community councils will decide where the parks will be located and then find the money through the capital budget process.

Off-leash dog parks have to be a minimum of one acre (.4 hectare) in area to minimize turf damage, and designated free-running areas in parks should be at least two to three acres (.8 to 1.2 hectares) in size.

To get the ball rolling, staff came up with three potential off-leash dog parks: - Don Bayer Sports Field in Dartmouth. The former field was closed after the municipality deemed it unsafe.

- Glenbourne Park in Clayton Park West. A dog area could be developed on a pad that was to be used for a tennis court in the park, which already includes a soccer field, sledding hill, open play space and basketball court.

- Williams Lake Park in Mainland South. A new park across from Sir Sandford Fleming Park is in the planning stages and could host a large off-leash site for dogs and their owners.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:05 AM

    Hmmm! Isn't that where they are building the houses on Williams Lake Rd? They mention getting the approval for the houses. Funny how they have no problem starting the houses but nothing in regards to walking paths etc.