[Long overdue for a by-law change, the lovely park has had more than it's fair share of problems with owners of dogs who fail to control their pets. Our family has had more than one encounter with aggressive dogs, and owners, over the years at this park. In contrast, the leash free park off Dundurn South in Hamilton is a fenced in area whereas Warren Park is a natural setting amidst the Dundas Conservation Authority trail system, and does not lend itself to a happy and safe segregated use between hikers and nature lovers, and dogs running loose. Foxes, yes, deer, sure, but dogs, no. Hopefully a resolution is found to amend the leash-free designation here. Good bit of first-hand reporting by Mr. Campbell
Park neighbours want city to enforce rules
Warren Park leash-free designation contravenes 2003 selection criteria
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff, Published on Jan 21, 2010
Neighbours of Warren Park off Tally Ho Drive feel unwelcome in the neighborhood park and are calling for a city review of the leash-free zone that breaks the city’s own rules.
Warren Park’s free running area has existed for 23 years, but has apparently never undergone the required site evaluation introduced in 2003 when the City of Hamilton created a policy for leash free parks.
The continuation of Warren Park’s leash-free designation does contradict the city’s site selection criteria because the site falls within an Environmental Significant Area and the city policy does not permit free running areas within ESAs.
City staff was not available to comment this week on the Warren Park leash free zone.
Phone calls with specific questions were not returned before deadline.
More than a dozen park neighbours gathered at a Tally Ho Drive home last weekend to share some of their own concerns. Several said they no longer feel comfortable walking in the park because of threats posed by aggressive dogs and some aggressive dog owners. They are often confronted by dogs digging, or defecating, on their private property.
Concerns over Warren Park’s leash free designation were raised last summer by the Hamilton Conservation Authority, which connects directly to the park.
Bruce Mackenzie, the HCA director of customer services and operations, told the Dundas Star News during the summer leash free dogs are not permitted on conservation lands –but there were ongoing problems enforcing that rule.
“We do have a problem, particularly with our trails adjacent to Warren Park,” Mackenzie said.
The HCA put up signs between the municipal leash-free park and its own land reminding dog owners to leash their pets. But members of the group calling themselves Warren Park For Everyone pointed out people have written the word, “Nope,” on a sign advising dog owners to leash their pets.
The residents say many of them are dog owners themselve and have nothing against the pets or their use of the park. But they argue Warren Park is unsuitable for leash-free dogs and doesn’t meet the city criteria for such a designation.
They said the opportunity to unleash dogs in a natural area has brought people from a wide area outside Dundas to the local park, which is part of a significant natural area stretching from Ogilvie Street to Sulphur Springs Road.
While individual dog owners may only let their pet run loose for an hour or less then leave the area, it becomes a 24-hour a day, seven day a week issue for the community that surrounds the park. They say it causes noise, personal property damage, threatens children and the elderly and also creates significant parking problems.
Warren Park is not leash free during the summer months, but neighbours say some dog owners ignore the restriction –in contravention of city policy.
Last Saturday afternoon, when a reporter visited the park, a loose dog walked onto Tally Ho Drive in front of an oncoming vehicle. A teenage girl struggled to control and leash the dog.
During a 20-minute walk through the park, several violations of the city’s policy were noted –including examples of dog owners who had not cleaned up after their pets. One dog charged at the reporter during the visit and the owner made no attempt to leash the pet, as required under the city policy.