Don’t change our dog park, residents urge

FERGUS – Retain access to the pond and limit or don’t interface at all with a multi-use trail proposed to be constructed in the new North Fergus Business Park.

That was the prevailing message from about 70 users of the Fergus Off-leash Dog Park at an open house hosted by the township at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex on Aug. 15.

The dog park, located on Glengarry Crescent, is the only dog park in Centre Wellington. It allows dogs to be off leash and boasts trails, an agility course, an open field, and access to a large pond.

Dogs love the pond, especially in summer, and dog park users love having the dog park in town.

They spoke passionately about how important the park is to them and their furry friends and how they don’t want it changed.

The business park is adjacent to the dog park and the township is in the midst of installing infrastructure, then roads and then businesses that have purchased lots will build their buildings.

Dickson Drive will extend all the way to 1st Line and a few new roads will run off Dickson.

The intent is to build a multi-use path within the business park that links with the Elora-Cataract Trail to the south, traverses the business park, and connects with the dog park and Glengarry Crescent.

During the Municipal Class environmental assessment, which included public consultation, “people saw a possible problem (with that connection) and we removed it from the plan,” said manager of engineering Adam Gilmore. 

That means the multi-use path dead ends in the business park, but Gilmore said that can still be sorted out.

As well, some trees were removed near the dog park by mistake, causing some to interpret the cleared area as the multi-use path.

But it’s not. Those trees will be replanted, Gilmore noted. 

Some of the opinions voiced during the open house included:

  • don’t fence-in the dog park;
  • add fence between the dog park and parking lot, which might separate dogs from multi-use path users and moving vehicles;
  • retain access to the pond for the dog park;
  • add more fenced dog parks in the township; and
  • ensure there is signage so multi-use path users will know they are nearing an off-leash park.

The township is working on an active transportation master plan and hopes to update its parks and recreation master plan next year, subject to council approval.

Managing director of community services Pat Newson advised people to weigh in on the master plans when commenting opens up on ConnectCW.

 “Growth has happened quicker than we thought and after COVID, the needs and wants of the community have changed,” she said.

 “There is no plan in place for how we connect all this.

“Please share your thoughts with the parks and recreation master plan.”