At General Committee this week, Council had before it, an agenda item that outlined recommendations from the Parks and Rec Committee in regards to the Canine Commons (Leash- free dog park). The recommendations are that staff proceed with capital upgrades and maintenance requirements in 2017 which include improvements to the parking lot, a new fence and entrance gate latch system, and new screened wood chip mulch for the whole park. These items were prioritized and identified by the volunteers of the park. The recommendation to Council is that these items are to be completed in 2017. While it is great that these items will be taken care of immediately, there are still issues with regards to the ongoing maintenance of the park. I have always felt that this park should be maintained at the standard of all Aurora parks – and that requires funding.
The Parks and Rec Committee recommended developing an ongoing maintenance schedule that would be included in the Parks and Rec Operational budget for 2018.
By including the Canine Commons in the operational budget, it would ensure that, moving forward there would be a budget for regular maintenance of the park including the parking lot – monthly grooming , including snow removal and sanding – cutting of the grass around the perimeter of the park as well as the interior of the park and removal of weeds and two applications a year of wood chips. Inclusion of the canine commons in the Parks and Rec operation budget will be part of the 2018 budget discussions.
The recommendation before Council passed unanimously but will still need to be ratified at Council next week. I want to note as well that in addition to the upgrades and maintenance of the park, staff also informed the committee that By-law Services will be attending the park to ensure that all dogs using the leash-free park are licensed, and that any dog without a dog tag will not be allowed in the park; however, owners will have an opportunity to purchase a tag or may be fined.
Ongoing maintenance of this park has been an issue since it opened in 2003. I am pleased that everyone has worked together to get this done.