Where to build a dog park in Stellarton continues to be a topic of debate in council chambers.
In his report to councillors on Monday, recreation director Paul Corbin suggested that the off-leash dog park be built on a grassy field at the corner of Foster Avenue and Pleasant Avenue, across from a playground and horseshoe pits. However, he still favours the location at the Valley Woods Pond Park initially suggested by a resident.
“Foster Avenue and Pleasant Avenue is probably the best choice. It’s the one I’m recommending if Valley Woods isn’t used,” he said.
The Foster and Pleasant site has a grassy field, plenty of space for parking and would be constructed on unused land in a fairly central part of the town.
Several councillors raised concerns about the area’s proximity to the Pioneer Coal strip mine, and Coun. Simon Lawand suggested the dog park be located near the Stellarton Soccer Complex, in a recreational area close to the Valley Woods location.
“The concern I would have is where we would place it. If we go with that area, there would be additional costs because of landscaping,” said Corbin, noting that no grassed areas exist there.
Councillors requested that Corbin determine the costs to build at both Pleasant and Foster, and near the soccer fields, with the same dimensions as the area in Valley Woods. Council will revisit the issue at another council meeting.
In the meantime, Corbin provided councillors with design specifications that would address safety concerns raised at the December council meeting, and sample rules from a dog park in Halifax.
At December’s meeting, Corbin presented the results of a survey conducted about locating the dog park in Valley Woods, with the majority of respondents in favour of the idea. Because a small number of residents were against the proposal, councillors asked him to present more options.
The idea was to fence an open field area behind the playground equipment at the Valley Woods Park, estimated to cost about $7,000, and involved using a portion of an existing fence.
Currently a ball field in Evansville is being used as an off-leash dog park, which is upsetting for some nearby residents and ball players because of dogs defecating on the fields.