Another dog park a possibility in Greater Sudbury

The City of Greater Sudbury is looking into new guidelines for the creation of future dog parks within the city.

Report suggests design guidelines for proposed dog park locations

Report includes design guidelines, a proposed location for the South End dog park and possible locations in the Donovan and New Sudbury. (Sam Martin)

The City of Greater Sudbury is looking into new guidelines for the creation of future dog parks within the city.

A report introduced at the Community Services Committee on Monday, included recommendations for guidelines of future dog parks, a proposed location for the South End dog park and recommendations for potential locations in the Donovan and New Sudbury.

The city already has two off-leash dog parks in Minnow Lake and Azilda and other neighbourhoods have expressed interest.

Cindy Dent is the city's Manager of Recreation. She says her department did a lot of research looking at other communities with dog parks, looking into where other municipalities are putting dog parks, where they tend to be most successful and what kind of amenities make dog parks more successful in certain communities.

Dog parks are somewhat of a controversial issue in Greater Sudbury and in many other communities.

"You're either a dog park supporter or you just don't want a dog park near your home for fear that there will be a lot of barking, people won't pick up after their dogs, it will create more traffic in your area," said Dent.

However, she says when dog parks are carefully placed, these issues are very minimal.

"People are growing much more used to having these kinds of facilities so they know what to expect when they attend them, they do clean up after their animals, animals play but they don't necessarily always bark, so there isn't as much noise, from my experience, in dog parks as people might generally expect," she said.

The report suggested design guidelines that dictate the distance that dog parks must be away from residential homes and other areas that might have issue with dog parks, such as schools, parks and places of worship, said Dent. 

Councillor Deb McIntosh says while the guidelines will suggest certain areas of the city, councillors should still know if a dog park is being proposed in their ward.

"It is a controversial topic for some people, pro and con on dog parks and I think it's prudent for the ward councillor to know ahead of time that an area, any specific area is being proposed," she said.

Another concern McIntosh has is knowing who will take care of what. 

"Is it the expectation that the city will pick up the garbage that's in a garbage barrel? Or what about the droppings? Who's going to be responsible for things like that because I think it's important, if you're going to have a dog park that there be a sense of ownership from the community as well to take care of the dog park," McIntosh said.

Dent says dog parks are a cost to the city, but there are very strong relationships with volunteer groups who want them in their neighbourhoods.

"Volunteers have fundraised towards the cost of the dog park so it definitely is a very strong partnership most often with volunteers as well as the city," she said.

She says councillors at the Community Services committee meeting made some recommendations that strengthened the report, which will be added in for councils consideration. 

Dent says she hopes council will approve the dog park site that's recommended in the South End.

with files from Morning North


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