Central Huron Council considers new dog park for Clinton
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Despite some clear recommendations from staff, Central Huron Council has pressed pause on a plan to create a dog park in Clinton, requesting more information on both capital and operational costs.
Council discussed the request at its April 6 meeting after a resident had asked that council consider a park earlier this year. Staff presented council with three options for a dog park location: Sloman Park, Kinsmen Park and Hawkins Park.
Councillor Dan Colquhoun spoke first, saying his first choice would be Kinsmen Park on Hill Street. That park, he said, is the biggest and it has plenty of room for parking. However, choosing that location wouldn’t be without its challenges. There are a few neighbours of the park, he said, with pools, which meant the municipality would likely have to erect some privacy fencing if that site was chosen.
Councillor Alison Lobb said she would prefer if the park would be created at Sloman Park on Victoria Terrace. Several councillors echoed this sentiment, including Deputy-Mayor Dave Jewitt and Councillors Michael Russo. However, Colquhoun said he had been approached by residents who said that creating a dog park at Sloman Park would create an incompatibility problem between the dogs and Canadian Geese laying their eggs. Mayor Jim Ginn said council could consult Animal Control Officer Bob Trick regarding geese at the site.
In his report for council, Facilities Manager Steve Duizer said that Hawkins Park is located among residential properties and would likely require the creation of a parking lot. He also said the installation of fencing at the site would cost over $14,000.
He outlined additional concerns, such as the proximity to area backyards on three nearby streets.
At Kinsmen Park, he said, there would be ample parking, as Colquhoun had noted. However, the lot is not owned or managed by the municipality, which would require a letter of agreement for use.
He said that, similar to Hawkins Park, there would be concerns with nearby backyards and fencing at the site would also exceed costs of over $14,000 for the municipality.
In regards to Sloman Park, Duizer suggested that the plot of grass between the municipal sewage treatment plant fencing and the Bayfield River could accommodate a dog park. He also noted that parking is already in place in front of the Sloman School Car and there are few residential properties nearby.
Fencing at the Sloman Park site would cost the municipality just under $10,000, but the construction of approximately 200 feet of pathway would be required using cement, asphalt or stone dust.
For any of the locations, Duizer said, a doggie bag dispenser, garbage receptacle, signage and a picnic table would be necessary at an estimated cost of $500.
He also noted that municipal staff already maintain grass at all three locations, so a park at any location would result in an additional hour of maintenance time per week for trimming around the fencing and the disposal of additional garbage.
Several councillors asked for costing figures from when the Auburn dog park was created several years ago. Duizer said the municipality spends $2,700 per year to maintain the park, but that he couldn’t speak to the municipality’s capital investment when it was created.
Council then voted to defer the decision until its next meeting when those figures could be presented and council could make an informed decision. That motion was carried.