Monday, September 13, 2010

noboby wants dogs in the park?

Plans to close Warren Park to off-leash dogs (welcomed by this blog!) have been delayed, and now, the alternative site of Delottinville Park is being opposed by neighbours.

Is this a classic case of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard)?

The concerns with Warren Park focused on the environmentally sensitive nature of the area, and its integration with the Hamilton Conservation Area trails, where dogs are supposed to be leashed. The area was not fenced, which meant unwelcome encounters between loose-running dogs and hikers, sometimes leading to threatening behaviour by dogs, and sometimes between owners and hikers.

The replacement park, which is in the midst of the newly completed sprawl development at the western reached of Dundas, north of Governor's Road, would be fenced, and have parking, as well as being close to the dog-owners living in the subdivision.

Clearly, dog-owners want a place to take their dogs off leash. The city is looking at providing this service using best-practices to ensure environmental and safety concerns are met.

As the Dundas Star reports:
the two-acre area would be enclosed by a four foot high fence with double-gated access, it is located outside environmentally significant areas and the site does not conflict with any proposed sports facility.

As letter writers have declared:
We love nature and that is why we moved to Dundas in the first place. The thought of our peaceful neighborhood being converted into a busy, noisy dog sanctuary is unbearable.
After all, Dundas Valley is identified as an environmentally sensitive area in the Hamilton-Wentworth Region official plan
They might want to consider that the landscape where their new home sits was not long ago a meadow with footpaths; a stream was placed into a pipe and buried, the hill leveled to a flatness suitable for subdivisions, while access to the Conservation Area trail was fenced off.

Now that houses stand on the former natural area with their roads, paved driveways, and suburban accoutrement like lawn mowers, leaf-blowers etc. it seems selfish to take such an environmental stance against a low-intensity fenced leash free area.

The Hill Street leash free area is in Hamilton is close to houses and part of a children's park and functions very well in the community.

People in support of a leash free park in Hamilton had better speak up and let Councillor Powers know your views (rpowers@hamilton.ca), since, as the staff report states, there are no real options other than this location.

No comments: