Councillor Mark King, true to his word, sent the dog park question back to committee.
While there appears there is support from around the table to finalize a location for the city’s second off-leash dog park, a veteran councillor has joined King in raising concerns about the Laurentian Park site on Carruthers Street as appropriate for such an endeavour.
Councillor George Maroosis spent the early part of the discussion relaying objections he has heard from residents, either in person or via social media. Many of the concerns centre around the question of dog urine and how the operators of the original dog park, the North Bay & District Humane Society mitigates the smell emanating from the park.
Both Maroosis and King cited reports brought to their attention about small dogs becoming ill and vomiting from what is believed to be the unhealthy presence of dog urine at the Champlain Park location.
Councillor Jeff Serran asked City staffers Paula McCloskey and Beverley Hillier, who penned the report recommending the Laurentian Park location, if the site at the end of Premier Road was at capacity, necessitating the need for a second location.
McCloskey referenced an open house held on the matter whose attendees seemed to be strongly in favour of a second off-leash park.
The staffers’ attempt to ease the concerns of King over using green space in a residential neighbourhood appeared to still leave them at odds about whether the site was appropriate for that usage.
McCloskey did explain that the playground, ball diamond, and outdoor skating rink would not be affected, continuing to operate as they currently do. She also repeated several times that the dog park, still without a formal plan pending Council direction, will be built at a general location to be cleared past a children’s sliding hill off Carruthers Street, with an area of one acre (similar in size to the south-end park).
King referenced an informal online poll of 500 residents, 48 per cent of whom, he says, believe a dog park is unnecessary. “Convince me that we are doing our due diligence,” said King, adding that the proposed dog park is 75 metres from nearby residences.
King says that he knocked on some doors in the neighbourhood and has discovered that many who live there are shift-workers. “How do we mitigate a barking dog?” he asks.
Just before King returns the matter to committee, Maroosis suggests that the Humane Society appear to deliver a report on the dog urine question. King agrees, and the meeting adjourns.