Council directs staff to work with group on possible park

LITTLE CURRENT—A group of Little Current dog owners attended the Northeast Town council meeting last week, making a deputation and presenting a petition with 160 signatures in support of the creation of a Little Current dog park.

“We are a local group of Little Current dog owners that would like to bring forward a proposal for an off-leash enclosed dog park,” states a letter to council. “We believe this would be a great opportunity for the citizens of this community and their dogs. We plan to be in accordance with NEMI Township’s bylaws and the Dog Owner Liability Act of Ontario, labour and materials will be provided through fundraising, donations and volunteers and no municipal resources will be required. Two professional registered dog trainers have volunteered their services in order to educate the public regarding responsible dog ownership and clean-up and maintenance will be handled by volunteers and users.”

“Dog parks promote responsible ownership in the community and when managed properly, can be self-sufficient,” the letter continues. “The location of the dog park would be within the control of the NEMI Township and the park would instate a ‘no fault liability/use at your own risk’ policy.”

“Dog parks promote responsible ownership in the community and when managed properly, can be self-sufficient,”

In addition to the letter and petition containing 160 signatures presented to council, former Billings councillor and one of the founders of the Kagawong dog park, Sandy Hurcomb made a deputation to council on behalf of the Little Current group.

“I don’t live here, but I was approached by the spearheads to talk about the Kagawong dog park and the benefits of a dog park to communities.”

“We have had a dog park in Billings for four years and there have been a lot of positive spin offs,” continued Ms. Hurcomb. “The first is economic—we have gained larger amounts of tourism due to the park. As a business owner in the community I have seen this first hand. It is also a great thing for the community as a whole—people come together and it is a way for people to get to know each other.”

Ms. Hurcomb explained to council that the Little Current group is “keen to work with council” and is just looking for support and to suggest an area that could be used to build the fenced in park.

Both Councillors Bruce Wood and Bill Koehler expressed concern with the town in terms of liability with the park being on town property.

“In the whole time of the Billings’ dog park there has only been one dog fight that drew blood and on that occasion the owner was asked to only use the park when it wasn’t occupied,” said Ms. Hurcomb.

“The issue really comes down to liability,” said Mayor Al MacNevin. “Council is concerned.”

Council directed staff to contact the town’s insurance broker regarding liability and dog parks and to work with the Little Current dog park group to hopefully find a solution before bringing the issue back to council for final approval.