This week at Council we discussed a proposal for a dog park in the south end of town at the Darkwood Detention Area and creating an ‘off-leash’ trail in the Tim Jones Trail. This report was before Council from a previous motion put forward by a Councillor in May of 2021.
Proposals for dog parks in our town should be made in consultation with the neighbourhood in which it would be located. This did not occur with this proposal. Further, I am opposed to any section of our beautiful trails being designated as ‘off-leash’ areas. Our trail system was developed for all residents to use. The proposal to make a section of it ‘off leash’ limits access to certain residents who would not be comfortable in an area where dogs are roaming free. I cannot support a motion that would, in effect, prevent members of the public from accessing our trail system and jeopardize the safety and enjoyment of our parks and trails are for all residents.
After the debate, I was thankful Councillor Humfryes put forward an amendment to not pursue Darkwood Detention Area as a dog park and for it to be excluded from the list of options and any future consideration, ensuring that it will not be used as a dog park now or in the future (which passed unanimously). The Tim Jones trail being used as an ‘off leash’ area was also abandoned.
That being said, we do need to look at creating a second dog park; but with proper consultation and in a fenced off area for the safety of those without dogs, but also for the safety of the dogs and residents who wish to exercise their dogs off leash. The proposal which was before council considered an isolated area within a neighbourhood, without any parking other than on the neighbourhood streets. This would cause unwanted traffic infiltration in neighbourhood streets causing safety concerns for those living there. I don’t support trying to jam a square peg into a round hole that is problematic for our local neighbourhoods and does nothing to improve services for our residents… I will continue to advocate for sensible solutions which meet the needs of all residents and continue to deliver the exceptional services our residents deserve.
I have always been a big advocate of using the hydro corridor for a dog park. Right now the corridor is a series of empty fields, but with a partnership with Hydro, could be transformed into a large off leash dog park by fencing off a section of it. We could ensure a location with access to adequate parking so as to not impact local residents. The new park could be separated in a small and large dog area and be the envy of municipalities in York region. Consultation, collaboration, and cooperation – that is how we will get things done…