Sault Ste. Marie City Council tonight agreed to look into adding two new dog parks in the city, one in the east end and one in the west.
A resolution initiated by Ward 1 councillor Sandra Hollingsworth and Ward 3's Donna Hilsinger flags Bellevue Park as the preferred east end location.
The city's sole existing off-leash dog facility – Strathclair Dog Park at 962 Second Line East – opened in 2015.
Strathclair is described by the two councillors as being "actively used."
Hollingsworth commented that she heard ratepayers call for more dog parks during last fall's election campaign, and also heard from residents about the large number of dogs illegally running off-leash on Topsail Island.
The following is the full text of the resolution passed by City Council:
Mover: Councillor S. Hollingsworth
Seconder: Councillor D. Hilsinger
Whereas according to Ipsos Reid approximately 35 per cent of Canadian households have a dog. Community parks and recreation departments are becoming more likely to include dog parks in their “building healthy community" plans; and
Whereas dog parks can act as a gathering spot for pet parents. While their pets are playing, community members are more likely to participate in conversation and exchange community information such as upcoming events, concerns, and ideas; and
Whereas leash laws continue to become increasingly restrictive, communities are seeing dog parks as a way to let dogs run free without penalty to pet owners or damage to private property. Dog parks also promote safety for pets, owners, and community members; and
Whereas canine parks allow dogs to get ample off-leash exercise and social activity; and
Whereas the City of Sault Ste. Marie has only one dog park located beside the Humane Society which is actively used;
Whereas the creation and sustainability of a dog park can be achieved economically through sponsorship and pet licenses;
Now therefore be it resolved that city staff be requested to research the feasibility of creating two additional dog parks, one in the east end (preferably in Bellevue Park) and the other in the west end where dog owners can easily access them, incorporating trends from highly rated dog parks such as Vancouver's.