Off-leash dog zones are coming to a park near you

A Town Crier Community Column

In Ward 10 we have a great abundance of both parkland and dog owners. Therefore it wasn’t a big surprise that my office has received proposals for two dog off-leash zones in our local parks. The timing was excellent as I had made the creation of off-leash zones a promise during the 2010 election campaign.

One suggested location is tucked into G. Ross Lord Park and the other would be located in Earl Bales Park. Both off-leash zones would represent about one percent of the total park area and be segregated by wood fencing. The idea of an off-leash zone is fuelled by the importance of giving dogs an opportunity to roam freely in a secure area, while at the same time respecting the park use and space of others.

We held two public meetings for local residents to learn about and provide input on the proposals. Both events were well-attended and there were earnest discussions about what makes a great off-leash zone and what needs to be done to balance the needs of all park users. City staff did an excellent job of providing a PowerPoint presentation and answering audience questions.

Those attending the meeting had some great suggestions about off-leash zone design, dog trail options, lighting and safety and access to parking. Naturally, we have to work within fiscal restrictions at city hall.

Based on these consultations, staff has recommended that Ward 10 establish the proposed off-leash zones.

Each proposed off-leash zone will be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, and dogs must be on a leash at all other times and in all parts of the wider park. There is a code of conduct for dog owners to ensure mutual respect and safety, and off-leash zones must never be established in playgrounds, splash pads and campgrounds, among other areas.

The planned off-leash zone at G. Ross Lord will be divided into large and small dog areas.

These new assets for Ward 10 are works in progress and I am always open to new ideas and suggestions.

About this article:

By: James Pasternak
Posted: Apr 8 2011 3:59 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto