Dog friendly park spaces approved, dog friendly beach idea dropped

Dogs running at a park. © Can Stock Photo / dosecreative

Two dog friendly park spaces have been approved by Sarnia council.

Staff have been asked to prepare site design concepts for off-leash dog parks in Tecumseh Park and Heritage Park.

Community Services General Manager Stacey Forfar said it’s a great way to program underutilized space and keep people, and eyes, on the parks all day long.

“The idea would be that there would be an area that would be completely fenced off, similar to what’s happened right now in Germain Park, which is the city’s only off leash dog park, and there would be appropriate amenities and access control to keep off-leash dogs separate from other users of a park space who don’t necessarily want to come in contact with them,” said Forfar.

She said it was a first step in meeting these increasing needs.

“We’re certainly wide open to continuing to hear some feedback in terms of future parks, at this point in time these are the couple of parks that did rise to the forefront and we’d love the opportunity to come back and if there are some additional park spaces we can certainly continue to look at that in the future as this program moves ahead.”

After further public consultation on dog friendly beach locations, staff said the response was generally negative and recommended public beaches be retained for use by people only.

Councillor Bill Dennis was surprised.

“I must admit I am struggling with what seems to me to be a disconnect between the comments and some of the survey response numbers,” Dennis said. “The majority of the comments are negative towards a dog beach, but then in actual survey questions there were over 250 selections choosing a dog beach location.”

Dennis proposed returning to the public to simply ask, “Do you support a dog friendly beach in Sarnia? Yes or no.”

Councillor Dave Boushy said they’ve had enough discussion about dogs, and council proceeded to deny the request in a 7-2 vote.