Dog park policy gets overhaul
City makes 29 parks off leash
That is after Toronto Council voted to approve a set of tweaks to the city's off-leash dogs policy.
The revised people, dogs and parks strategy is intended to streamline the decision-making procedures and take into ways to finance the construction of dog parks, which on average cost about $150,000 per park.
The city's parks department has a more systematic approach, which city staff hope will make the process less political. The policy comes up with rules to limit off-leash areas in parks and parkettes that are two acres or less.
And no longer will an off-leash area require that a local dog owner Association be established to police and manage the area.
Councillors passed the plan without amendment, although Willowdale Councillor John Filion said he was uneasy giving city parks staff what amounted to final say over whether a leash-free park would be established.
"I'd like that in the case of a disagreement between parks staff and the community, the local councillor should have the opportunity to bump up the issue to community council and council," he said.
"This would happen in very few cases but as councillors we should not completely abdicate our responsibilities for getting involved in the outcome."
Others, however, said that when it came down to a dispute between dog owners and other park users, the only thing to do was get out of the middle of it.
"Every single application for or against that I've seen in my ward is a pitched battle, an emotionally engaged battle," said Trinity Spadina Councillor Adam Vaughan. "Totally unresolvable. Even proposing compromises makes you an enemy of both parties. To add another level of debate and evaluation and making it completely political as opposed to policy driven is prolonging the pain and acrimony in those neighbourhoods."
The report also recommends some 29 new leash-free areas in parks across the city.
The sites include the Wychwood Car Barns Park, Sir Winston Churchill Park, Gerrard-Carlaw Parkette, Coronation Park, St. Andrew's Playground, Orphan Green Space at 51 Power St., Baird Park, Sorauren Avenue Park, Little Norway Park, Rosehill Reservoir, William Hancox Parkette, Woodbine Park, Bruce Mackey Park, Merril Bridge Road Park, St. James Park, Riverdale Park East and Huron Street Playground in the old city of Toronto; Kings Mill Park, Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Humber Bay Park West, Beresford Park, in Etobicoke-York; Ledbury Park, Eglinton Park, Ellerslie Park, Sandy Bruce Park, Viewmount Park, Willowdale Park and Pineway Park in North York; and Botany Hill Park in Scarborough.
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