Town to revisit dog park issue

Darrell Cole
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Amherst rejected the idea two years ago

Amherst is going to take another look at the possibility of building a dog park within the town.

AMHERST – After deciding against it two years ago, Amherst is going to take another look at establishing a dog park within the town.

Town council decided at its June committee-of-the-whole meeting to have staff update a report it completed on the issue in 2011 to determine if there’s a need for such a facility, how much it would cost and where it would be located.

“Basically what we’re looking for is an updated report on what the cost would be,” Mayor Robert Small said. “I think it’s also going to come down to where we’re going to put it.”

Speaking to council, Roger MacIsaac, Amherst’s director of community and economic development, said most activities related to dog parks take place in more urban centres such as Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the Halifax Regional Municipality where it is difficult for dog owners to access land for dog walking.

“Rural areas tend to be very close to open spaces that provide dog owners the ability to walk their dogs unleashed,” MacIsaac said.

MacIsaac said a dog park requires about half a hectare and there is a need for a six-foot-high fence around the property that has an entry for users along with a separate double-gated entry to address maintenance and emergencies.

He said a park also requires sufficient parking and shaded areas to accommodate both dogs and owners on hot days, while benches are required for owners along with a suitable means to pick up and dispose of feces.

In 2011 it was estimated the cost of establishing a park would be approximately $26,000 – a figure he said would probably be higher now.

“When we considered criteria and the fact we are a rural community close to wooded areas we decided that continuing was probably not something we wanted to do,” MacIsaac said.

He said the concerned identified two years would still be in play today including will owners clean up after their dogs, health concerns relating to dog feces not picked up, injuries to other dog owners and children using the park, whether all breeds should be permitted to use the park and enforcing the park’s rules.

MacIsaac said the Northern Telecom Park on Park Street, Dickey Park and the Beacon Street Park all have merit as a potential home for a dog park, but he said staff needs to make sure those places would still be ideal.

Deputy Mayor George Baker said he continues to get calls from residents asking about a park. He also finds the cost a little high. Coun. Terry Rhindress said this could be a project the town could share with the Municipality of Cumberland and suggested MacIsaac talk to the county about helping the town find a piece of land that residents of both municipalities could use.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Town council

Geographic location: Northern Telecom Park, Park Street, Dickey Park Beacon Street Cumberland

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Recent comments

  • Stop being so negitive
    July 05, 2013 - 11:27

    Stop being so grouchy. geeze. I get it, you don't agree with spending that kind of money... Neither do I. There has to be more affordable roads to take. How about some volenteers to help with the dog park. And why would it all need to be done at once. Step by step is a better idea. Why not use all recycled things for the fencing, ask for people to donate scrap material that can be reused. It doesn't need to be disney land for dogs. Just a safe place. Fundraising is a great way to bond people in the community, and so is a dog park. I also drive all the way to Moncton to use their dog park, it sucks, but at least my animals have a real chance to socialize, preventing much unwanted behaviour.

  • justagirl
    June 19, 2013 - 07:49

    just for the record, I'am a Amherst resident and I drive my dog to moncton to take him to the dog park to run around and spend the day.

  • john
    June 18, 2013 - 12:28

    How about a park for the kids over on Hickman Street instead of a park for dogs??

  • County Resident
    June 18, 2013 - 09:59

    Does Councillor Rhindress think County residents will drive their dogs in town to walk in the park? County residents live in the County to have the freedoms the Town does not permit, such as space for your dog to run. As a taxpayer for the County, I would be upset if County Council supported this endeavour!

  • drewsclub
    June 18, 2013 - 08:03

    I would suggest contacting Celtic Creatures Veterinary Clinic in Sydney, NS as they run a very successful dog park behind their clinic. All dogs must be registered with the municipality and have all shots up to date. They charge a small annual fee for usage and everyone cleans up after their dogs.

  • bill
    June 18, 2013 - 05:49

    How about some jobs,that would show us you are doing something !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dog the Bounty Hunter
    June 17, 2013 - 20:45

    Put it at the Winston field. That football field. is a waste of real estate

    • Seriously
      June 18, 2013 - 11:25

      And a dog park wouldn't be? At least that football field sees today's youth being ACTIVE, and promoting a healthier lifestyle. Any sports fields or complexes, specifically those who target our youth, should not be ruined, nor considered a "waste".

  • Mr. Chow
    June 17, 2013 - 20:43

    You know what this really is a joke you know this people of Amherst. This is just another waste of money for Amherst that we do not have any more. The people in charge of this town love to spend money but we are losing jobs here in Amherst to make money. There really is no need for a dog park people of Amherst just take your dog for a walk and clean up after them. All I hear from the people running this town is spend spend spend. I hear nothing about job creation and before you say well Mr. Chow were is your job creation. I am not the one that got an increase in pay shortly after I got my new job. These people were brought in to get new jobs to Amherst. But again lets speed 30K+ on a dog park. Lets speed money on a new highway sign for Amherst. Lets waste money on cross walks, waste money on a stone park that there is no one down there to use it down town. It really is a shame that we bring these people into power for 4 years and all they can do is waste money. Give it 10 more years at the rate things are going this town well turn into another Oxford or Springhill. How can we as a people of Amherst be happy with a waste full government that is not willing to do anything to bring a real positive to this town. I know there will be people telling me that they have done "great" things. To that comment I would like to hear what they have done.

    • Bill
      June 18, 2013 - 16:41

      When you talk about the stone park .I get so upset when people forget to sat anything about the pretty DISCO lights.