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Doggy heaven coming spring 2014. Hopefully

Wednesday, February 27, 2013   by: Donna Hopper

At the December 3, 2012 meeting, City Council carried a resolution committing $45,000 to the construction of Sault Ste. Marie's first leash-free dog park to be located near Strathclair Park.

Last evening, the Community Services Department and representatives from Legal Off Leash Dog Owners Group of Sault Ste. Marie (LOLDOGS) invited members of the public to an information open house at the Civic Centre.

Nick Apostle, commissioner of community services, told that construction of the anticipated 500 by 300-foot gated dog park will hopefully begin in the spring of 2014.

In addition to the funding commitment from the City, LOLDOGS will raise $25,000 towards the development project through community donations and fundraising events.

Construction will not begin until LOLDOGS has achieved its fundraising goal.

"We hope we'll be close enough to our goal by the end of the year to go to City Council with a good faith commitment that we'll reach our portion by the time everything gets going in the spring," said LOLDOGS Chair, Beth Eady.

While most attendees at last night's open house were there for information, Apostle said a few homeowners adjacent to the dog park site expressed some concerns regarding the project, including park access, noise, hours of operation, and parking.

Current plans for the development include a gated four-foot high fence enclosing the entire park as well as its own parking lot.

Apostle said the park would be located approximately 600 feet away from the nearest homes, but a natural sound barrier (trees) could be considered should the need arise.

The leash-free park would be subject to the normal city-wide park hours of operation and would be open to public access between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

In order to access the park, owners will need to provide proof of licensing - which means all vaccinations must be up-to-date - and adhere to a set of park rules, including cleaning up after their pets.

Most responsible dog owners are very good at policing themselves, Apostle said, but should a severe case of abuse of park privileges come to the attention of authorities, a trespass order could be issued and use of the park revoked.

It is the hope of LOLDOGS that once the leash-free park is opened to the public, owners will adjust to the idea and discontinue using other parks in the area as leash-free play zones.

"There will definitely be a transition period, but I suspect things like off-leash enforcement and possible fines in places like Topsail will get a lot more stringent once there is a facility that is available for use," Eady told us.

The dog park will be more than just a giant doggy free-for-all, Eady said, and plans are in the works for a variety of canine-related events to be hosted at the location.

In the mean time, if you wish to help the development of the Sault's leash-free dog park, owners are invited to bring their pooch to Rome's on May 10 and 11 for 'Picture With Your Dog' Days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dog portraits will be $10 each with all proceeds supporting LOLDOGS and its efforts.

For more information about LOLDOGS, please click here

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
JB 2/27/2013 4:59:28 PM Report

river_man 2/27/2013 5:08:59 PM Report

Good lord! Just build the park already. Forcing the community to donate funds for a service that every other city in Canada has as part of a healthy community is ridiculous.
fortytwo 2/27/2013 5:14:16 PM Report

Since LOL-cats have free run of the internet, it's only fair there's a place for LOL-dogs.
Nimrod 2/27/2013 5:23:53 PM Report

Sweet! We can go and watch the dog fights.
bsa 2/27/2013 5:57:39 PM Report

Great somewhere else people can take their dogs too poop and not pick it up. Hubtrail is just awesome if you like looking at poop on your walk. Keep it up Sault doing a great job!!!!!!! lol

hermie3000 2/27/2013 6:04:19 PM Report

Will there be lights at this park?? If so and if the city is paying for the lighting I hope they get the lights up at the skatepark , at the same time , so our youth are able to use the park a little later than 5:00p.m. come fall.
SophiaT 2/27/2013 6:29:17 PM Report

What a sad place for dogs to be offleash!
At least at Topsail Island ,they had all different kinds of stimulation,ie water , bushes, huge running area. The experience I've had with enclosed areas leads to animals out of control,inappropriate social behaviours due to the limited area.
Eset 2/27/2013 6:53:21 PM Report

I am interested in knowing if they are going to have a small dog section? Most dog parks do so that the smaller dogs have a safe place to go. It is then up to the owners discretion if they do want to bring the small dog into the big dog area but no big dogs are allowed in the small dog area. And what kind of areas are there going to be? Is there going to be a water area for the dogs to be able to hydrate themselves?
Pooped Saulter 2/27/2013 8:31:20 PM Report

I thought Vancouver Island was behind the times. Port Alberni, population 10,000 has two leash free areas and we seldom have a problem.

Victoria has a huge mile or so long by couple hundred yards leash free area and 99% of the time the dogs play better than the owners.

What I don't get is the $45,000.00 price tag. Leave Topsail Island as a leash free park if people have poop problems tell them to just stay in Belleview proper. As usual city bureaucracy runs amok with taxpayer dollars.
jojoe71 2/27/2013 11:06:02 PM Report

If dogs are allowed to run loose...what happens if a dog attacks my dog? Just curious...I don't see how to police this problem..I know just like people..not all dogs are friendly.
opinionated 2/27/2013 11:24:55 PM Report

If you're worried about that, don't bring your dog there, simple as that. I frequent topsail and have never seen a problem with dogs - they're actually more susceptible to fighting when ON a leash.

Christina216 2/27/2013 11:41:03 PM Report

dont bring your dog there if its aggressive. most ppl that use topsail island have very well behaved dogs that get along with all dogs and other people.
hans 2/28/2013 6:21:25 AM Report

In the end, the stupidity is there was already a dog park at topsail, that had everything available and was completely surrounded by water. All they needed to do was spend $1,000 on a gated entry and it's done.

Instead they are going to spend a whole whack of money on a new one, just because people would have an issue should topsail be converted to a dog park or anything else.

Sam The Dog 2/28/2013 7:22:02 AM Report

Inadequate parking and add more traffic to 2nd Line. The next thing there will be thousands of dollars spent on a study if thousands of dollars are needed to be spent on traffic lights.
AceOfBass 2/28/2013 7:42:45 AM Report

Yes what of waste of taxpayers dollars on a park that is not needed.Topsail Island is the leash free park.

Lost dogs head to Topsail Island because it is 3/4 surrounded by water and the foxes and coyotes stay out of there.

Building this leash free park is a great idea and the people involved have good intentions.

Councillor Myers was for the leash free park on Topsail island than changed her vote.This led to what a leash free park off one of the busiest roads in this city.

This is another one of the dumb decisions by a city council that does not listen to the people and ends up costing thousands.
Tiajah 2/28/2013 9:46:18 AM Report

Yes City of Sault Ste Marie, what is wrong with having the off leash doggy park at Topsail Island. It would save money and let the dogs have access to water, bush etc...and it's about time this was actioned and the project shouldn't be dependant on the people of Sault Ste. Marie to fund since we are all tax payers - dog owners as well, and this should considered to be just as important as the hub trail and other projects.
honda1984 2/28/2013 10:02:06 AM Report

wonder who picks up the liability when someone gets attacked or a dog gets mauled
Taz36 2/28/2013 10:14:34 AM Report

Wow....lots of whining and negativity here. Every story on this site seems to have a lot of people crying and whining and complaining. Be happy people, life is short.
Oldie Goldie 2/28/2013 10:15:43 AM Report

Some of you posters must be kidding about Topsail Island for a leash free area---One poster even said I could stay on the Mainland if the dogs bothered me.

I have just as much right to walk around Topsail Island and not be threatened by Leash-free dogs there.

I don't mind walking on Topsail Island when the dogs are on a leash--then I won't be threatened by dogs whose owners say they don't bite and then come up to me very close with fangs sticking out of their open mouths.
EL17 2/28/2013 11:16:29 AM Report

SSM needs to start thinking progressively. The Health benefits of having a pet and getting people active will save the Health care system much more than the piddly $45000 to build it. One Heart attack can cost our system as much as $100 000. Pay now, or pay later.
hans 2/28/2013 7:06:18 PM Report

Oldie Goldie :
If they make a leash free dog park, you have the exact same rights to walk there as you currently have on top sail island.
There is lots of park in that area besides top sail island to walk around in.
If you don't feel safe at top sail island you should not be walking there, and your problem is solved.
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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