Friday, January 9, 2009

Some people are not happy with the state of off leash parks in the HRM

So I think people contact me because they know I'll follow up on stuff - I got a letter yesterday from a friend of mine who was unhappy with the condition of Seaview Park in the north end of Halifax - one of permanent off leash parks - he's one of the regular's who's been going to that park for many many many years and he said that this winter is the worst winter ever for maintenance being done by the City. They have not been plowing the parking lot, and they've removed all the garbage cans inside the park - which they've done in year's previous in the winter - but they'd also removed the garbage cans in the parking lot as well except for I think he said one by the entrance to the parking lot and it was overflowing and completely gross.

He and many others had been calling the City to complain and were perfunctorily told that it was because there was no winter maintenance of the Park and that was that.

So I took a trip out to Seaview today and took a few photos and wrote a letter to John Charles - and have copied it below.

I also had an email from a friend because Point Pleasant Park was closed this week - another offleash - multi-use - park because of conditions that City staff couldn't get to - so it was too unsafe for tax paying HRM residents to be able to use the park - the City put out a media release about it at "Media Release"

We all went through so much work in order to get off leash dog parks, and are under the constant threat of having them closed down at the whim of the Off Leash Parks Advisory committee (which is completely comprised of HRM Staff) - and yet the City feels no compulsion to maintain these parks at all when weather conditions are in any way nasty. Doesn't that strike people as a little bit hypocritical? As a tax paying dog owner, it certainly does to me.

Here's the letter I wrote to John Charles - the head of the Off Leash Advisory Committee, and Planner - Real Property Planning

Hi there John, I am sending this in for a friend of mine - who goes to Seaview Park on a daily basis. He said that he's been calling the City number to complain about the fact that there's been problems with Seaview - both he and I have been going to Seaview Park daily for many years - so we know what conditions there are like - and he says that this year services there are unlike any other year that he can remember - so things must be very very bad.

He says that the parking lot has not been plowed out at all, and all the garbage cans have been removed from the park - and even from the parking lot. Park regulars have gone so far as to bring garbage bags to the park themselves to fill up with poop bags so that they can have somewhere to put the poop bags.

I have not been going to Seaview myself because my dogs have gotten too old for the terrain there - but today I went to have a look around. The parking lot was fine - it is like everywhere else in the city and most snow has melted - and I was super impressed to see that there is now a fence installed so that almost the whole park is now fenced in. That is great! Yea! I was really happy about that. I was also happy to see that a lot of the playground has been removed so that when people arrive with their dogs they don't have to walk through a playground. That was also great to see.

There were several garbage cans in the parking lot - they either arrived this morning or were emptied this morning - because they were all completely empty - so that was great to see. I got out of my car and walked into the dog end - and the terrain of the park was very typical for this time of year - a complete sheet of ice - but that is fine - people who go to Seaview regularly expect that and I don't
think we can really do anything about that - I don't imagine we can expect you guys to go out there with a bobcat or something and put down dirt on the paths - there's not enough paths to make it worthwhile.

But as I got towards the dog end - I could see that there things I was going to be able to take pictures of - and I have attached them to this email for you. Garbage bags filled with doggy doo bags.

People have been taking garbage bags to the park so that they have some place to put their dog poop. Now that to me shows hootz-paa. And I have to say that I saw almost no shit on the ground too. The park was really clean. The park regulars there obviously care very much about the park to be doing this. I would think that the City could at least give them one or 2 garbage cans inside the park for the winter - and empty them regulary.

One would think that this could be an agenda item on your off leash park advisory committee - because to me - this is unacceptable - what if we get a big rainstorm - and these bags have rain soaked through them? That to me would be a very bad health hazard - that needs to be addressed.

Any advice that you could offer would be sincerely appreciated, John.


Joan Sinden

See attached photos taken January 9, 09 at 1pm

(and just as an aside - there was only one dog and one human in the park - and 10 cars not including mine in the parking lot - and funny enough - there were people in all the cars...hhmmmm!)


  1. Anonymous10:15 AM

    The issue of removing garbage cans from designated off-leash areas drives me bonkers. You see the same collection of garbage bags at Range Park in Bedford, where dogs are allowed on the fenced ballfields in the winter. But of course they take away the garbage cans when the ball season ends.

    Another area where this is a problem is at the boardwalk at Fisherman's Cove in Eastern Passage -- again, another popular place to walk dogs all year round. It's also a popular place for walkers in general, so people are always looking for places to put their Tim Horton's cups, etc. The city is not very proactive in this regard.

  2. Anonymous10:40 AM

    BTW, I meant to add, I do haul my poop home during the winter months, but I damn well resent it.

  3. Anonymous1:37 PM

    great letter as usual-jm