Three dog parks in Guelph are on the chopping block
Published Tuesday, February 4, 2020 6:33PM EST
GUELPH -- Fenced-in dog parks could disappear in Guelph by the end of the month.
City council is considering closing a leash-free area at one park, and cancelling plans to open two other dog parks.
At a committee of the whole meeting, councillors voted in favour of closing the existing park at Peter Misersky Park after a number of complaints from local residents.
As the park's popularity increased, so did the complaints.
"The day that this park closes will be the happiest day of my life," says Joanne Thorburn.
"It's actually taken away my sense of ease living here."
The park opened without consultation.
Coun. Mike Salisbury says it's not required under the Planning Act, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't have been done.
Still, he voted against closing the dog parks, saying the complaints only represent a portion of the community.
"I didn't think we had given a voice to those who were unaware that they were at risk of losing this facility," he says.
Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie made his position on the matter clear on Monday, taking to Twitter to encourage residents to speak out against the closure.
"If you're unhappy (as I am) about cancelling the construction of the new Bristol Street dog park (and now the closure of Misersky) please email: clerks@Guelph.ca so Council can hear your opinions on this!" he said.
Others say that they understand the need, but say its proximity to a residential area is problematic for residents.
"There's definitely a need for them, there's a want for them, however when they're placed so close to residential areas, it comes with its own problems," says nearby resident James Gordon.
Councillors did vote in favour of having city staff look at other properties outside of residential areas to host a fenced-in park in the future.
But some dog lovers who have been enjoying the park say that having the park more accessible is hugely helpful.
"It is the only one anywhere close to here, fully fenced-in which I think is a priority, especially when you have two dogs that like to chase bunnies," says one dog sitter.
Council is scheduled to make a decision on Feb. 24.
There will be an opportunity for members of the community to come out and voice their concerns at the meeting.