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Will local dogs finally have their day? (photo)

Monday, December 03, 2012   by: Staff




Legal Off Leash Dog Owners Group of Sault Ste. Marie, Inc.  (LOLDOGS)

Off-Leash Dog Park Could Be Approved by Council on Monday

After years of planning and discussion, at the December 3 council meeting, council is expected to be voting on a measure to approve funding for the construction of the city's first off-leash dog park which would be located on Second Line behind the Humane Society.
It is being recommended that the city approve a commitment of $45,000 from the parks reserve fund, with the remainder of the budget, some $25,000, to be raised through a number of fundraising efforts by the Legal Off Leash Dog Owners Group of Sault Ste. Marie (LOLDOGS).
LOLDOGS is an incorporated non-profit organization with a board of local dog owners, who have been working closely with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee over the past two years to develop a plan for the proposed park.
"We are pleased to hear that council may be approving our first off-leash park on Monday," said LOLDOGS vice chair Jake Cormier. "Our organization, along with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and city staff have worked hard over the past two years to make Monday's council decision possible."
The proposed park would be located in the large open area behind the Humane Society on Second Line. 

It would be about 3.5 acres in size, completely fenced in with separate areas for large and small dogs. 

The site would be dotted with shade trees, benches, picnic tables and trash cans, and a source of drinking water for in the summer.
"We are making a commitment to the city that we'll be able to fundraise $25,000 within the next year," said Cormier. "We will need the support of every dog-loving resident and business in the city to reach our goal. It shouldn't take long ... there are about 22,000 dogs in the city, and at least half of families have at least one dog."
LOLDOGS plans a variety of fundraising initiatives, including business sponsorships, raffles, donation jars, memorial benches and trees, memorial donations, and advertising.
Off-leash dog areas, or dog parks, provide a community setting in which people can gather and socialize and where they can observe the interaction of groups of dogs at play.

Dog parks not only allow owners and their dogs to spend time together, but also offer dogs a space for play and companionship with other dogs.

Because leashed walks and other confined exercise can cause dogs to become territorial or poorly socialized, spending time off-leash in a park is quite beneficial for a dog and its owner. 

Dog parks promote responsible pet ownership and the enforcement of dog-control laws; give dogs a place to exercise and burn off pent-up energy, thus reducing barking and other problem behaviours; provide seniors and disabled owners with an accessible place to exercise their companions; and provide an area for community-building socializing.
LOLDOGS is asking all interested dog owners to attend the council meeting on Monday, December 3 at 4:30 p.m. 

A large show of support from dog owners will send the message to council that there is a huge potential user base and demand for an off leash park, and that our cause is one that the city should embrace.
"This project has been a long time coming," said Cormier. "The vast majority of cities in Canada have at least one dog park.  Some have dozens. Dog parks have become a very common facility offered by municipalities, and we feel the time is now for Sault Ste. Marie. Our organization is ready to hit the ground running, and have the utmost confidence in our community to help us reach our fundraising goals. We hope council makes the right decision on Monday, which will get thousands of tails wagging across the city!"

Fast facts


The Legal Off Leash Dog Owners Group of Sault Ste. Marie (LOLDOGS) was incorporated as a non-profit in November 2010. 

The current board of directors consists of Beth Eady, chair; Jake Cormier, vice chair; Linda Bassanello, treasurer; and Robert McCutcheon, secretary.





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Brianne 12/3/2012 11:51:53 AM Report

Yup, again, something placed for the citizens of the soo in an out of the way area that you can't get to unless you have a vehicle !
TUGBOATANNIE 12/3/2012 11:56:28 AM Report

What a waste of taxpayers money. All dogs should be on a leash period. This park is just going to be a legal money pit when someone is bitten or mauled.
TankGirl 12/3/2012 12:01:34 PM Report

Where would you have put it Brianne? Keeping in mind available land, more specifically 3 acres that is not taking away land currently in use.
TankGirl 12/3/2012 12:03:11 PM Report

Off leash dog parks are used at your own risk. The city would not be liable if some bodies dog hurts someone. Just like if you were walking a dog down he street and it bit someone. You can't sue the city because they built the sidewalk.
allieishere 12/3/2012 12:16:09 PM Report

gotta agree with ya there Brianne, it's not within my walking distance either...meh
ehbcd2 12/3/2012 12:22:09 PM Report

If you have 45,000.00 to waste on this, don't dare raise my taxes anymore. I'm tired of funding special interest groups, let them fund themselves. In fact if you have surplus tax money laying around, how about you refund it to the people you got it from.
B Boy 12/3/2012 12:25:24 PM Report

Off-leash dog parks have been around for many years and are very common.
SSM is just catching up.

Sure it's far away for anyone who doesn't have a car but there are also nuisance animal by-laws to consider. I wouldn't want to leave near a place with constant barking.

You've got to remember too that much of SSM municipal expansion has been done with little regard to urban planning - I just hope they aren't looking at that land thinking about what it is/has been used for and planning down the road for future residential/sports complex expansion. The urban planners have often shot themselves in the foot by lack planning as it seems.
TankGirl 12/3/2012 12:27:34 PM Report

Budgets are determined once a year. This money (as stated in the article) is from PRACs budget. This money can only be spent on parks and recreation.

There is no surplus, there are no refunds and your taxes are still going up regardless if this park goes up or not. Unless your MPAC came back with lower value on your house THEN your taxes are going down.

TRE 12/3/2012 12:28:07 PM Report

So let's see. Should we should have one in every neighbourhood so all residents from the East end to the West would have better access to it? I see people actually driving their dogs to school yards, and letting them loose to do their business where our children play. I'm not for spending taxpayer's money, but if the people intending on using it are willing to also contribute, then it would be a small price to pay. Does this mean that there will be no more unleashed animals on sidewalks, parks, and the Hub Trail, and less dog poop (which does not get scooped)? I sincerely doubt it, but if so, I'm all for it!
B Boy 12/3/2012 12:29:36 PM Report

ehbcd2 - although I think SSM still needs to catch up to times, we're taxed pretty heavily and it goes up every year.

FreeThought 12/3/2012 12:42:51 PM Report

I can't make it to the meeting... but I'd love to show support. Lack of a functional leash-free dog park has inhibited us from purchasing our canine companion... Walking just doesn't cut it.
I fully intend to support ANY fundraiser organized by LOLDOGS.

Can't wait to hear the good news from Council!
PipeBomb 12/3/2012 12:49:33 PM Report

Brianne tissues are on sale at Shoppers this week if you want to keep crying.
CrankxGirl 12/3/2012 12:55:26 PM Report

My dog and I fully support this park, and we can't wait to visit it. Our pooches deserve a nice safe place to play and make new dog friends. I also believe this is a well thought out location away from the major population. It may be a bit far for most who are walking, but your dog deserves a nice long walk anyway. They're our best friends, and I'm so happy they are finally getting a park.
Point Blank 12/3/2012 12:56:23 PM Report

Another special interst group gets funding from our tax dollars. I don't have a problem with a dog park. But, I do have a problem with it being paid for out a City department budget! Our tax dollars should be spent on improvements and/or facilities that can benefit everyone, not just a certain sector.
If LOLDOGS wants a dog park...go for it!!! it, manage it, maintain it, insure it, operate it and MOST IMPORTANTLY...BUY & PAY FOR IT, yourselves!! Is LOLDOGS going to pay for the upkeep of this property? Or, the taxes? What's next? A park for cat lovers? How about model train or plane enthusiasts?
And, to make matters more bizzare, we have people on this site who are complaining about the location of this property!!! Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!
I have a simple overall philosophy about this scenario. If the dog owners of SSM don't have a place to walk their dogs, or a yard big enough for the dog to run around in, then, perhaps they should not have purchased a dog in the first place! Or, they should move to a farm.
And, btw, your taxes do not necessarily go down if your assessed value does. The City still has to collect the necessary funds to meet its budget!
B Boy 12/3/2012 1:11:36 PM Report

I must have missed the part where only dog owners are allowed to use the park.

In other cities I've visited I see people who like dogs spending time at the park. They enjoy seeing animals play and being around them.

As for complaining about the special interest groups, this benefits everyone - one of my kids is afraid of dogs and we could never go to topsail island because that's where people let their dogs run around. So non-dog owners will benefit from this also.

It's a question of quality of life - the city council is working to improve it. If you're complaining about a special interest group, get up and form a plan on how you or your group can benefit from something.

Bike tracks, RC parks, dog parks, kite parks, whatever. A concerned and active group got together, worked to raise conciousness and actioned something.
I don't have a dog or plan to have one but nice work on it.

If everyone acted in such a narrow-minded manner then nothing would ever improve in this city.

As for the taxes, alot of us are fed up.
Anyone want to get a petition going to force our MPP's to smarten MPAC up? They seem to be inflating their assessments again. Lots of up seem to be paying tax on an assessed home value which is higher than a bank appraisal!
CrankxGirl 12/3/2012 1:13:43 PM Report

People with model trains can go down to the wellington square mall. People with cats usually don't want them outside. PointBlank, You say people with dogs should all move to a farm because they don't have a big enough yard? Well, the article says there are approx 22,000 dogs in our little city, and if we all left for farms in the country with our dogs i'm sure the city would lose more than they would've spent on a dog park. Your 'simple overall philosophy' is just a simple minded philosophy.
VAfarmboy 12/3/2012 2:06:20 PM Report

My dog would LOVE this! She'd be the first one there and the last one to leave; she wants to be friends with everyone!

Money is always an issue. We either don't have enough of it or it gets spent in ways that not everyone is in agreement with. Endeavours such as this are something I fully support and if I had $70K+ (and funding was the only issue, which it's not, judging from previous comments re: location) I'd pay for the whole thing myself. This particular venture is one that I'm very passionate about. I would do my part in supporting many projects that help benefit the city and those who reside in and around it with that kind of money.

In regards to location and ease of use, I can only imagine that if this goes well, that maybe more locations would be added in appropriate areas in the future.

With the Humane Society being so close, I do hope that the dogs there would have daily opportunities to get out and run and socialize. I know the folks there have big hearts and do the best they can, but those dogs, I'm sure, would love to get out more than they do. I've seen it elsewhere: bringing adoptable dogs (either by Humane Society staff members or volunteers) to dog parks is a great way to get them noticed, to get them socialized, and to get them away from shelter life and into a loving, forever home.

Good luck, LOLDOGS! My dog and I are with you!
AceOfBass 12/3/2012 2:07:08 PM Report

What a stupid idea.The leash free park should be at Topsail Island.That is where it is now.This is where all lost dogs go to because there are no coyotes and foxes there,Topsail Island is surrounded on three sides by water.This is where my lost dog went to as it was a safe place to hide from the predators.

Putting a leash free Park at this location is just a waste of taxpayers money.Topsail Island is the right place for this leash free Park not some place off the beaten track.

This council just loves to waste taxpayers money In this case $70,000 on something that is not wanted or needed. .

Topsail Island has always been the leash free park.

Councillor Myers ran on a platform that Topsail Island would be the leash free Park. Then when it came down to a vote. She voted against it. Which created this mess.

City Council has lost touch with the people and this is an example of incompetence.
habsfan12 12/3/2012 2:13:17 PM Report

I really hope this is approved. I know that I would be bringing my dog there a lot and I know a lot of other people that would too.

Cities like Thunder Bay have three dog parks and the Soo still has none! The Soo needs to catch up with the rest of the country in areas like this if they want to attract people to live and work here.
habsfan12 12/3/2012 2:17:31 PM Report

City council said a few years ago that they can't turn topsail into a legal off-leash dog park because it would cost way too much money to fence it all in. They would need to fence it in because off-leash dog parks need to be enclosed and the water that surrounds topsail is not considered an enclosure.
TankGirl 12/3/2012 2:21:56 PM Report

Special interest groups dont deserve city funds??

Ok, get rid of all sports complexes because not everyone plays sports. Get rid of all neighbourhood parks because my kid is too old for it now so we dont use them. Get rid of the hub trail because note everyone uses that either.

Seriously? People need to think more before they open their mouths ( or keyboards)
AceOfBass 12/3/2012 2:30:05 PM Report

That is crazy habsfan.Topsail Island has been used as of leash dog run for years.Lost dogs go there because of its location no predators.3 sides surrounded by water.

You would have to put up signs letting people know that the area is a leash free dog park.

There is no need to spend $70,000 on a park when one already exists.

Whatever council decides Topsail Island will continue to be used by the dogs.
toxon 12/3/2012 2:30:40 PM Report

I was a resident of Ottawa for 12 years and 9 of those years i walked my german shepherd in the public dog park. it cost me about 5000.00 to do this because of medical bills he had after going there every week. The park was great and he got to mingle with other dogs but he got skin infections, sick from other dogs urine, fesces, stagnent water etc. My dog had all his shots and was very well taken care of but alot of others weren't as caring as i was. i know the soo isn't as large as this specific one but i'm sure it will have similar downfalls. My vet recommended to stop going and sure enough not a medical bill, other than shots until he was 13 yrs old. i also never walk my animals at rest stops, or any other public area since then. After i've spoke to people who quit going also and they had no problems either after quitting. just saying!!!
honda1984 12/3/2012 2:35:41 PM Report

well here we go again why not give the local group that is spearheading this off the leash park free of charge to use and have them be responsible for all the upkeep and cleaning through whatevever type of fund raising they do.i am thinking they did this with the model airplane club hence no cost to the taxpayer
thomas 12/3/2012 3:02:22 PM Report

I'm with Toxon with a dog park being a huge harbinger of germs and disease.
I'd love to be able to let my dog run in a large enclosed area, but not with a bunch of other dogs who might not have their shots up to date, have mange, and many other diseases. Do you know that Parvo germs can live up to a year frozen? Have you ever seen the effects of parvo on a dog? It is sickening to watch them die a quick, painful death. I'd far rather not take the chance.

What about dogs that are agressive? Who will police this if there is a nasty dog in the pack? Can the owners/dogs be banned from using it? Is someone going to stay there to monitor this?

Who cleans up the feces?
Owners won't want to walk to the end of that huge area to clean up their dog's doo-doo.

I just think it's a bad idea, healthwise for your animal, never mind the cost.

Oldie Goldie 12/3/2012 3:44:59 PM Report

I hope this means that I can soon walk around Topsail Island without being harrassed by an unleashed dog !

But I'll bet that there will still be many who will unleash their dogs there too !

Also, maybe now our children can play on School properties without running thru the dog poop left there now by unleashed dogs.

If dog owners don't like to take their dogs to unleash them at the designated place then perhaps they should buy a farm where they can run to their content and not bother anyone else.
beanie 12/3/2012 3:56:29 PM Report

I personally am super excited for something like this to FINALLY happen in the Soo!! Its about time!!
beanie 12/3/2012 4:26:39 PM Report

"If the dog owners of SSM don't have a place to walk their dogs, or a yard big enough for the dog to run around in, then, perhaps they should not have purchased a dog in the first place! Or, they should move to a farm." originally posted by Point Blank
REALLY? I have a large fenced in backyard (half acre) which is way more than enough room for my 3 large dogs to run,play and do their business......I pay taxes just like you (or maybe you don't I don't know) but I feel as if our city is way out of the loop not having a dog park, with 22,000 registered dogs in this city, its crazy that we don't!!! I can't believe the narrow mindedness of some of the people in this city, and those who want it but want to complain about its proposed location, pffft!! buy a car ;) Good Luck LOLDOGS!!!
GotRotties 12/3/2012 4:27:26 PM Report

Oh ANNIE or should I call you TUGBOAT...the city doesnt seem to care whether anyone drowns at Hiawatha, breaks their neck at the skateboard park or anything else that might be deemed dont have a dog dont go to the dog park simple as that but the dog owners of this city have waited a long time for this and you shouldnt look down your snooty judgmental nose at them. The owners police their own dogs as they have for all the years they have been "breaking the law" in other areas of the one wants their dog to hurt anyone including another dog...they are all well aware of lawsuits and such. So relax. Why should dog owners be the only people to not have a recreational area to go to? I remember reading once that a couple people were playing cricket at Bellview and right away everyone was on the bandwagon for a cricket park, not having a dog park is a little bit biased against the majority of people in Sault Ste. Marie., not everyone rides a skateboard but these kids have a place to go do it. Hikers have a place to go as well as skiiers..its our time now!
j.r.98 12/3/2012 4:53:44 PM Report

I bike the hub trail and walk it.The poop bags were all over the hub trail last fall and this spring. l can just image the poop a dog park will create. I have been to topsail and assumed that was a dog park for all the poop i had to dodge. I am all for a dog park and yes i have a dog but i would not use it if it were on my own street. letting your dog sniff and be around other dogs is not such a good idea when you don't know the health of someone else s pet. Although i live in the west end and this should be in a more central area, the city would have limited areas where they could put it.
habsfan12 12/3/2012 5:15:11 PM Report

@AceOfBass I agree that topsail is a great place for a dog park, I bring my dog there a lot. But as it is, it's actually not legal to have your dog off the leash at topsail.

It would cost less to make a legal off-leash dog park behind the humane society than it would to make topsail a legal off-leash dog park. This is why I support the proposed dog park behind the humane society.
keeper 12/3/2012 5:24:45 PM Report

At least they are putting their money into this project, which is more than we can say for some groups in the city. This project pales in comparison to the wants of the cycle club which have not offered a dime for their multi million wish list.
friendlyone24 12/4/2012 6:56:39 AM Report

Thank you for finally getting around to this project.
I take my dogs on vacation with me and only visit places with dog parks.
Most hotels are pet friendly as well.

My dogs have never been mistreated, abused, attacked, at any dog park.
I am with them there and so are the owners of all the other dogs.
I get some socialization there as well, with other "dog-friendly" persons.

Persons who do not want to support this project/cause, are usuallly the ones that do not have an interest in dogs, or have fears/concerns for themselves or their family.
I don't use the skate-park....but I supported it for the sake of the kids that do use it. essence....finally....It's a dogs' day!!!!! love it.
friendlyone24 12/4/2012 7:02:52 AM Report

p.s. Dog park areas are fenced...hence the coyotes/wolves.
Kids are not allowed in the dog park unless accompanied by someone older than 16.
If you can get to can get to the dog park.
If you get to Walmart, you can get to the dog park.
If you ever go to the hub trail-you can get to the dog park.
Just try to find some positives.
GotRotties 12/4/2012 8:39:24 AM Report

I bet POINTBLANK is one of those old codgers that sit on his porch and hope someone walking their dog goes by and starts yelling his head off before the pee has even left the dogs body..yeah he seems like a real neighbourhood gem..lighten up POINT dont you know being miserable makes your life shorter. There are more people in this city that have dogs then those that dont and like any democracy its usually majority wins..I bet there are things that you have received that perhaps I dont use or need..but people like you look for what they are not getting instead of what they have gotten.
Point Blank 12/4/2012 10:33:33 AM Report

Hey GotRotties,
Nope, I'm not an old codger, just a concerned taxpayer.
As a matter of fact, I've owned a few dogs over the years. However, I never asked, or expected, the City (or anyone else) to provide a place for me help take care of them!
I am glad, however, that they are not giving them Topsail Island - which is far too expensive and scenic a piece of land to be used for a dog park!
And for those who feel that this falls into the same category as arenas and other sports're wrong. We pay to have our children enrolled in sports programs. And, I believe, that the purpose of these sports facilities is to help keep us and our children active and healthy - not our pets!
Once again, I don't have a problem with having a dog park. I just don't think that it should be funded and maintained by the City. There are for more healthy (for humans, not dogs), interesting and useful things that the City could be spending money on - like a children's splash pad, for example.
BTW, there are a lot of horse enthusiasts in the Sault, as well. They also need a place to run!!!!!???
beanie 12/4/2012 12:26:08 PM Report

Not everyone has kids pointblank.. just sayin.
TRE 12/4/2012 1:30:08 PM Report

Its official. I am happy to hear that the city has approved a dog park. It remains to be seen, however, if this means that there will be no unleashed dogs and no poop at Topsail Island, in schoolyards, and sidewalks. Already there are some who complain that it is too far, and those who complain that there would be too many germs and disease for their pooches. But it's O.K. for these same people to let their dogs pee and poo on our grass and shrubs on private property (and that which is maintained by private property owners) with no concern for human health. Yes, if you don't have space for a dog then you shouldn't have one. And if you don't want your dog doing its business in your yard, I don't want it in my yard either. If the park addresses these issues (which remains to be seen and which I highly doubt) then it is worth every penny.
GotRotties 12/4/2012 7:20:23 PM Report

Really POINTBLANK? how much are the parents of the kids paying that use the skateboarding area? Whats the going fee for the people that are using the HUB trail??... Hiawatha Park..I've seen weddings there, picnics, people swimming, is there an annual charge or per use fee for that place? What about Finn Hill? thats an area for all the kids to go and sled every year the city puts the fences up and the sled stops in there a charge for that?How many senior citizens are using that area? They might use the dog area..because they want their dog to get exercise but they cant walk far with have to take your head out of your highfalluting a$$ and think of other people..stop being so frigging miserable I am not looking to take "care of them" in an enclosed organized sports I would assume people are looking to socialize their animals..have a place the dogs can run free with their own kind and play without breaking the law. Personally with the dogs I have right now I wouldnt be using it..BUT I still think the people of the Sault deserve this area..why do we always have to be the last place in Canada to keep up with the times.
GotRotties 12/4/2012 7:22:26 PM Report

oh...I forgot...if people in this city cant afford to make their kids their OWN skateboard area, hiking area, sledding area....maybe they shouldnt HAVE kids.....according to you.
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