Dog park do-over, as new Victoria Park work requires changes

As the city and Victoria Park Foundation work through the rehabilitation of the park at the west end of Water Street in St. John's, some brand new aspects are already being redone.

Coun. Maggie Burton says changes to rehabilitation efforts that began in 2016 are necessary

A new and improved dog park in Victoria Park will soon open, so dogs like Asal will be able to run around. (CBC )

Victoria Park has undergone countless changes since it was first opened as a park in 1896, following its tenure as the site of Newfoundland's first civilian hospital. 

But plans to revitalize the park did not originally include re-doing work completed in the first phase of the project, which started in 2016. 

Now the historic park at the west end of Water Street in St. John's is entering the second phase of that project, including moving a new maintenance building and dog park put in during Phase 1. 

"The dog park has to move because of a couple of factors, and it's related to the maintenance building," Coun. Maggie Burton told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show Friday

"It's moving next to the existing washrooms area ... behind the commercial building that's adjacent to Victoria Park, and it will actually share a chain-link fence with that commercial lot."

The Victoria Park Foundation is in Phase 2 of revitalizing the park. (Victoria Park Foundation)

St. John's taxpayers are not covering the costs of moving the dog park, however, as someone involved with the Victoria Park Foundation is taking care of it. The whole revitalization project is being cost-shared, with the city matching the money raised by the foundation. That means the changes to work just recently completed will come out of the city's contribution as well. 

The first phase of the work brought with it new lighting near the hill often used for sliding in the winter, a bridge over the cascades, and infrastructure for fountains along with that dog park. 

Moving building required changes

Burton said the maintenance building itself also has to move due to safety reasons and logistics, and to accommodate new public washrooms. She said those issues were not known when the city did the original revitalization plan, although it's not clear why. 

"The size of the maintenance building had to drastically expand, and that would have cut into where the current dog park is," she said.

"That would have made the dog park really small. So, they decided to move it so that there would be room to have the maintenance building where it makes sense to have it, and to have a new and improved dog park." 

Coun. Maggie Burton says the cost of moving the dog park is covered by a donation. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

As construction continues through the summer, Burton said disruption to residents of the area will be fairly minimal. 

The focus of Phase 2 is on the parking lot area of the park, and the playground and baseball field will remain operational throughout construction, Burton said. 

Phase 3 will bring with it a new playground.

The dog park will reopen on July 5 in its new location.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from St. John's Morning Show