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.