Tuesday, February 23, 2010

snow on the horizon

It's been a winter without much snow, so yesterday's contribution to the winter wonderland is more than welcome. The view (above) is from the bottom of the hill in Kay Drage Park, Hamilton. The sledding was terrific!
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Peripatetically speaking

"To derive benefit from walking, Dr. Doty explained, it must be indulged daily and systematically. The best time for doing so is between the end of the working day and dinner. People who spend most of their time indoors, are advised to move their legs regularly. Golf, tennis, or a weekend hike, he said, are no equivalent for a daily walk since there is more to walking than physical exercise. Walking stimulates the mind, especially walking in congenial company."

quoted from Streets for People, by Bernard Rudofsky

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Scene from Sawmill Trail

The trails in Dundas Valley were snow packed, but in some places muddy, but overall good walking. Here's a scene from the Sawmill Trail (west of the Bruce Trail). I'm still hoping for a big snowstorm so we can get some more winter action in (ie cross country skiing) before spring.
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Saturday, February 6, 2010


City staff reviews leash-free zones after public, HCA express concerns
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff
Published on Feb 04, 2010

Hamilton is already behind other Ontario municipalities in providing safe leash-free dog-running areas and appears to have ignored its own policy by permitting a free-running area to continue in Warren Park.

City staff is currently reviewing the leashfree zone after concerns from the community and Hamilton Conservation Authority.

In its 2003 leash free parks policy, Hamilton differentiates between fenced dog parks and unfenced free-running areas. The city now operates four unfenced running areas and does not have any fenced dog parks. The SPCA offers a fenced dog park on Dartnall Road.

The Dundas Star News reviewed the leash-free park policies of 10 other Ontario municipalities and found the majority require a fence around any area where dogs are permitted to run at large. The rest require fencing when a free-running area is located close to an environmentally significant area, or don’t allow dogs in those areas at all, either on-leash or at-large.

Former Town of Dundas recreation director Rick Lane now works for the City of St. Catharines.

He said the municipality has two fully enclosed leash-free parks, including one that is 2.5 acres, and is considering creating another one. The third will also be fenced.

“It makes for safer conditions for pets and pet owners,” Lane said.

Last summer, when the Hamilton Conservation Authority raised concerns about dogs running at large on its properties adjacent to the leash-free area at Warren Park, City of Hamilton animal control manager told the Dundas Star News every dog owner says their pet would never bite a person or another dog.

“My personal opinion is we tend to attribute human behaviour or motives to their actions, forgetting they don’t think the way we think,” Buckle said. “(Dogs) don’t have human motives. They’re also not 100 per cent predictable.

“People are dumbfounded when their dog bites somebody. No one ever expects their dog to do that.”

The former Town of Dundas permitted six leash-free areas in neighbourhood parks in 1987.

Apparently, no rules or selection criteria were established. After amalgamation, it was a surprise to many people the designations actually existed. Since then, use of the leashfree areas has increased.

In 2004, after approving a leash-free policy, the city repealed the free running designations for Valley City Community Centre, Sanctuary Park and Olympic Park. Leash-free zones officially continued in Warren Park, Little John Park and Chegwin Park.

The city subsequently designated a fourth free-running area in Ancaster at Cinema Park on Golf Links Road.

City staff recommended repealing the leash-free status for three Dundas parks, but the May 2004 public works staff report did not explain how those areas contravened city policy. It recommended continuing the leash-free designation in Warren Park, but did not mention the designation contravened two requirements of the policy –that leash-free parks are not to be located in Environmentally Significant Areas, and that they not be located next to trails. Warren Park is part of an ESA and features trails that directly link to HCA trails where at large dogs are prohibited.

Hamilton’s leash-free policy does not address the idea of fencing leash free zones.

The City of Ottawa has an extensive policy for designating parks for dogs. Every one of the amalgamated city’s parks has been individually assessed and designated as off-leash, on-leash only or no dogs at all. Dogs are not permitted in parks adjacent to conservation areas.

In Toronto, the city policy requires a leash-free zone be completely fenced if it is within 10 metres of a naturalized area or ravine.

The City of London requires leash-free zones be fenced, and does not consider Environmentally Significant Areas suitable for free running dogs.

London requires the fenced zones be set back at least 15 metres from ESA’s and watercourses.

Mississauga, Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo, Oakville and Oshawa are other examples of municipalities that fence all their leash free zones, unlike Hamilton.

Monday, February 1, 2010

pedestrian letter

I had to read this a couple times, just to see if it was as inept as I thought.
It was...

Common sense required when it's time to cross the street

The Hamilton Spectator

(Feb 1, 2010)

Re: Pedestrian fatalities

I can't believe how many people are being killed just trying to get to the other side. (Good start! Identify the problem, people getting killed for trying to cross streets! You go, girl!)

We need to adjust our laws to give cars the right-of-way. (Blink. Blink. Wha? Why, pray tell?) People are more manoeuvrable, can stop on a dime and don't have blind spots, unlike cars, trucks and buses (Ohhhh, and therefore should be punished for being better than cars trucks and buses? Am I missing something here). Pedestrians need to be reminded that cars will win every time (And I thought we were reminded every time someone is run down by a car).

At what point did we forget the fundamentals of crossing the street: Look both ways, proceed with caution. (Sound reasonable, but at what point did some drivers and letter writers forget that driving a car means being in control and proceeding with caution?) Pedestrians who have the right-of-way believe this gives them a right to completely ignore crossing signs, crosswalks or even a car racing toward them (If the pedestrian has the right of way, and they should, but in this car dominant society they don't, then vehicles should not, for example, be racing toward them when they are crossing a street. If pedestrians truly had the right of way, cars would be going slower, stopping more frequently, and always be prepared to give way to pedestrians. Instead, it is car drivers who believe they should not have to slow down, or heaven forbid, stop, on their way to any destination. We won't even get into the number of red light runners, all way-stop violations, speeding, drunk drivers, cell phone yacking drivers, etc.).

Common sense seems to have gone out the window here, and will no longer be required to cross the street. (Or write letters to the editor, I humbly submit)

Thank you, Hamilton Spectator, for sharing this charming and highly educational letter with us...