Nova Scotia

Halifax seeks input on off-leash dog parks, sports fields

Halifax officials want the public to weigh in on a number of park issues. Eastern Passage has four possible sites to be considered as off-leash dog areas. There might also be a sight selected in Cole Harbour as well.

Sites for off-leash areas to be considered in Eastern Passage, Cole Harbour

The off-leash area at Shubie Park in Dartmouth is popular with dog owners. HRM is considering other off-leash areas around the region. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Halifax officials want the public to weigh in on a number of park issues.

In Eastern Passage, four sites are being considered for an off-leash dog park. The sites are the Shearwater Flyer Park consisting of an area between the parking lot and trail, Smelt Brook Park and two spots on the Eastern Passage Common.

A ball field and a soccer field on the Common would be off-leash from November to May and, as a pilot project, off-leash from June to October in the mornings from 6-10 am.

Andrew Younger, a former councillor and the host of a dog show on television, said new off-leash dog sites are needed because the off-leash area at Shubie Park is overrun.

"It's only really two loops, so the number of dogs is far more than what the park was intended to handle," said Younger. "It was never intended that Shubie would be the only one on the eastern side."

The survey on the Eastern Passage options is available between Dec. 3-Jan. 18.

Rehab Lands under consideration

In Cole Harbour, the municipality is considering several options for a park being planned around the former Halifax County Rehabilitation Centre, or Rehab Lands, on Bissett Road. One possibility being investigated is an off-leash dog park, but other park amenities could also be considered.

"This is Round 1 for the ideas," said Coun. Trish Purdy. "Do they want more trails, a play structure for kids, do they need a water fountain or a washroom?"

Purdy said concepts will be worked on over the winter. The public will then get another chance to comment.

HRM staff is expected to present a park proposal for that property in the summer of 2021.

HRM is also developing a playing field strategy for all sports fields and ball diamonds to better meet community needs over the next 15 years. A report will go to council by the end of 2021.

Those involved in soccer, rugby, football, ultimate frisbee and baseball can provide input. Those who use the fields for leisure activities can also take part in the municipality's survey up until Jan. 18.