Since the Minnow Lake Dog Park gained official recognition from the City of Greater Sudbury there have been many ‘new’ dog owners exercising their canine friends on the property. A lot of work by many people went on behind the scenes to establish the 7 acres as an off-leash dog park. Below is a summary of the lobbying that resulted in the creation of the City of Greater Sudbury’s first off-leash dog park.
According to Statistics Canada there are approximately 27,011 dogs in the City of Greater Sudbury and of those, approximately 3,765 dogs in Minnow Lake.
The City of Greater Sudbury identified in their Parks, Open Space & Leisure Master Plan of the City of Greater Sudbury that “[…] In addition, park sites suitable for “off leash” or “leash free” dog play are needed within the urban areas of the City.” Furthermore “The establishment of at least one such park as a test case should be undertaken”.
The earliest demonstration of this support at City Council is evidenced by the Seventh Meeting of the Finance Committee of the City of Greater Sudbury where City Council members were considering providing funding of $100,000 for the creation of a dog park.
A Facebook petition is created to help with the establishment of a dog park in Greater Sudbury and received over 138 respondents in favour of the creation of a dog park
Of the 27,011 dogs in the City of Greater Sudbury, only 5,888 (21.8%) are licensed and in compliance with the City’s By-law. The sale of dog tags (i.e. license) represented $88,320 for the city coffers in 2009.
The Minnow Lake Community Action Network (CAN) invited interested residents to create a sub-committee to study the need and support of the community for such a project. The initial proposed location for the off-leash dog park was the parcel of property at the corner of Donna Drive and Second Avenue – North.
A local community radio station organized a morning poll about the creation of a dog park in the City of Greater Sudbury. It received 908 calls with 71% in support of the creation of a dog park.
The Minnow Lake CAN, Dogs Off-Leash in Greater Sudbury (DOGS) Committee conducted an online and paper survey of approx. 7000 households in Minnow Lake – Ward 11 and “79.5% of survey respondents strongly agreed that the City of Greater Sudbury needs dog parks.”
The DOGS Committee presented its findings and request for the creation of Sudbury’s First Off-Leash Dog Park to be situated on the abandoned parcel of land on the corner of Donna Drive and Second Avenue – North in Minnow Lake.
City Staff presented their report outlining the potential costs for creating a new dog park in Minnow Lake area. The total one-time costs for the creation of the dog park were estimated at $116,679 and $6,700 for the regular yearly maintenance costs.
The City Ward Councillor petition and worked with city staff and council to identify potential source to fund the construction of the dog park. The cost of the construction was divided over two fiscal years through the use of the Community Development Fund administered by the local councillor.
The City began to bring onto the site, clean fill from local construction sites. The fill was needed to build the new laneway that will be across from Scarlett Street to the new parking area, approx. 100 meters. Also, the fill was needed to construct the parking area, which would accommodate approx. 25 to 30 vehicles.
The City brought additional fill onto the site to be able to smooth and fill any holes that existed on the property. This was to ensure that the enclosures and the surrounding property would not pose any risk of injury to the public and users of the property.
The City has continued what it started last fall with bringing into the site some clean fill needed for the new roadway and parking area. This continued into the spring and would go quickly as the half load restrictions was raised so that full loads can be brought onto the site making the completion of the roadway and parking area become reality quickly. The City officials identified a timeline of August 2012 for the completion of the dog park and began working on a elevation plan and design of the two enclosures for the dogs.
Throughout June the City continued to bring clean fill onto the site. The City Councillor worked with the various departments to get them to align their work for the targeted completion date of August 2012. The draft off-leash dog park by-law was presented to the Community Services Committee of the City of Greater Sudbury.
The City designed the dog park to house two enclosures one for small dogs (less than 15 inches or less than 25lbs) and a larger enclosure for large breeds. The small enclosure measured 100 x 60 meters with a fence height of 4 feet, while the enclosure for large dogs measured 110 meters x 60 meters with a fence height of 5 feet. Each enclosure would have a double-gate entry/exit system.
The construction of the new entrance, laneway, parking area, pathways leading to/from the large dog enclosure including both dog enclosures where constructed before the end of August as identified. By-law signage and the closure of the existing entrance were the last pieces to put into place before it’s open to the public.
The Dog Park officially opens on Sunday, September 30, 2012.
Proposal to City Council PDF