MAPLETON – Township council has once again rejected the idea of a dog park in Drayton.
On Jan. 12, council voted to receive as information a presentation on a proposed dog park from Drayton Kinette Club representative Roxanne Bowman. At the time, the club proposed two sites, one in ABC Park and the other behind the soccer field at Riverside Park.
The club estimated the cost of creating a dog park at ABC Park to be at least $39,000 and at Riverside Park at more than $67,000.
Councillor Marlene Ottens was the only councillor to voice support for the idea at the January meeting.
However Bowman and the Kinettes brought the idea back at the April 15 Parks and Recreation Committee meeting in the form of a request for 50/50 funding for a Drayton Dog Park. In April the Kinnettes suggested a third possible location in Centennial Park.
A parcel of of land at the end of Queen Street was also discussed as a possible location.
The committee passed a motion asking Mapleton Council to consider a dog park in Mapleton and to direct staff to look at options and report back to council.
At the May 11 meeting council considered a resolution to direct staff to investigate where in the township a dog park could be located and how it would be maintained.
Councillor Marlene Ottens noted a survey presented by the Kinettes at the committee meeting drew 105 responses, with 86 per cent of respondents in support of the idea and 83 per cent supportive of fundraising to cover the costs.
“Can we talk about this in the context of whether we even want one first, before we talk about location?” asked councillor Michael Martin.
“Absolutely,” replied Mayor Gregg Davidson.
“I lead with that I’m not in favour of dog park,” said Martin. “I think, certain dog owners would obviously be in support of a dog park, as long as it’s not located anywhere near them. Dog parks are not desirable in any way, shape or form close to a residential section of town. And I think some of the proposed locations … being close to parks and other areas where … the public’s going to be, kids are going to be, I don’t think for me this comes close to being appropriate.
“Drayton still a small town, not saying it couldn’t handle dog park, but … I think the maintenance costs that are associated with it, and just the sheer desirability, on the locations … are two bigger hurdles.”
Councillor Dennis Craven asked who would be responsible for cleaning up dog feces at the proposed park.
Davidson said determining who is responsible for maintenance was a major consideration.
“That’s the biggest question that we need to investigate as part of the resolution,” said Davidson. “We certainly don’t want our staff being the ones that will clean that up.”
Ottens said fundraising for maintenance and improvements has been part of the Kinettes’ proposal from the start.
“The whole purpose here is that we allow this whole discussion to be done thoroughly, because this came up before and was kind of nixed fairly quickly. So, we put it back to Parks and Rec so that it could be discussed, completely with all the pros and cons,” she stated.
“I’m not in favour of a dog park particularly. I don’t think that we really need it,” said Craven.
“If you’re going to have a dog in town, you’re going to have to learn to walk it, or hire somebody young to walk it. If I had a dog, I couldn’t walk it very far, but I would hire somebody to walk it,” Craven added.
“I echo councillor Martin’s comments. I think he summarized my concerns pretty well,” said councillor Paul Douglas.
Douglas said he is also concerned about the proposed locations.
“If they’re talking Queen Street Park, before I even entertain that I’d want to see some sort of a master plan for that park area just so that we’re not limiting future development of that park in any way,” said Douglas.
“But in general I’m not really that supportive of a dog park,” Douglas added.
The resolution to direct staff to investigate the proposal further was defeated with Martin, Douglas and Craven opposed. Ottens abstained and Davidson also did not vote.