An off-leash dog park for Stellarton will be built near the upper field at the Sobey Soccer Complex.
On Monday, town council approved the location for the dog park, which will be at the opposite end of the field from the Sobey Indoor Sports Complex. Funding of $10,000 for the park was approved in the town’s budget in June.
The park will be 80 feet by 70 feet with a four-foot fence erected around it. Along with the purchase and installation of the fencing, the cost includes topsoil and sod.
While approval for a dog park to be built at the soccer complex was given earlier this year, the exact location hadn't been decided. At Monday’s meeting, Mayor Danny MacGillivray expressed concerns about the park’s proximity to the soccer field.
In response, Deputy Mayor Simon Lawand said a dog park in Halifax has the same layout, and is about 20 to 30 feet from a soccer field.
While he had visited that park only once, recreation director Paul Corbin said he believes an eight-foot fence is adjacent to the soccer pitch, with a shorter fence around the rest of the park.
In order to meet budget constraints, Lawand suggested reducing the size of the park, which would require less fencing, and increasing the height of the fence nearest to the soccer field. However, Corbin said that would make the park “significantly smaller.”
MacGillivray suggested that a committee be struck to look into the issue, but Lawand said he didn’t want to wait any longer. “It’s been going on for a year now.”
In 2016 a resident suggested building a permanent dog park in the Valley Woods Park. However, some residents were opposed to the idea, and councillors asked staff to look for other possible locations.
Council voted four to one in favour of proceeding with the dog park at the specified location, with MacGillivray casting the dissenting vote.
Corbin said construction will likely begin next week, and he expects the dog park to be open in about a month.
In a related matter, council also voted to discontinue using the Evansville and Rick Crowe Memorial Ball Fields as an off-leash dog park in the off-season.
The motion put forth by Lawand that the Rick Crowe Memorial Ball Field and the Evansville Old Timers Field be used for ball only, was carried three to two.
In the past, residents had complained about dogs defecating on the fields. Corbin said the Pictou County Mixed Lob Ball Association had also asked that dogs not be allowed on the fields.