by Mac Christie Flamborough Review
The City of Hamilton is proposing a new fully-fenced, leash-free dog park at Joe Sams Park in Waterdown. The proposed park would have two separate areas – one for small and elderly dogs and another for large dogs. – City of Hamilton photo
Flamborough could soon be home to a long-awaited dog park.
A fully-fenced leash-free dog park is being proposed for Joe Sams Park and would see two separate areas, one for small and elderly dogs and another larger space for large dogs.
Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge said for the past several years her office has heard from many residents asking for a dog park for Flamborough.
“A significant amount of emails over the last five to eight years have been coming in requesting a dog park,” she said, adding several Joe Sams Park is the proposed location, although they are asking for community feedback about the location.
The proposed park would be located just north of the eastern parking lot off Centre Road and Partridge said the preferred location meets many of the city’s Leash Free Dog Parks Program Policy criteria, including park size, location, and provision of adequate parking. As well, it will not compromise the programmed sports amenities or the natural heritage features.
Partridge said two separate areas in the park is a key – one for large dogs and one for small – as well as shade.
“I’d like to see two separate areas that can provide a safe environment for anyone to go to.”
The proposed park would be fully fenced, with double gated entrances, she said. In addition, the perimeter of the dog park would be planted with dog-friendly trees that would offer shade.
Partridge said the park, which addresses a service gap in Flamborough, will allow residents to exercise their dogs off leash, without contravening municipal bylaws.
Currently the closest dog parks to Waterdown are the City of Burlington King Road Leash Free Dog Park on King Road and the City of Hamilton’s Borer’s Falls Dog Park on York Road.
However, Partridge said the closure of Mountain Brow Road has made the King Road park a bit more difficult to get to from Waterdown.
“It is closer by way of the crow flying, but it does take a little longer to get to,” she said. “I think it’s time and it’s important to be able to have a safe dog park that hopefully people will use – and respect other owners of dogs.”
A rendering of the proposed park indicates the small dog area is .22 acres, while the large dog area is .93 acres, but Andrea McDonald, the City of Hamilton’s senior project manager in Public Works, said the size could increase.
She said the park would be funded through the Leash Free Parks Reserve, which is in turn funded through the sale of dog tags in the city.
McDonald said the park would require fencing, trees and a double gated to enter both parks, which would require either a concrete or asphalt base.
“We’re really working to keep the cost modest,” she said. “We will be keeping costs down by keeping project management and design in-house, as well as working with forestry to plant the perimeter trees.”
While McDonald said many residents have asked for water at the dog park, unfortunately there is not potable water.
“There is a water supply issue, so we’re unable to provide water at this dog park, unfortunately,” she said. She added there will be seating, but at this point there are no plans to add a shade structure, although it could be added down the road.
She said the park will have a grass surface to begin with.
“Hopefully, depending on use, the grass is sustainable,” she said. “If not, then we move into wood chips.”
In terms of a timeline, McDonald said the city would like to have the dog park complete by the end of 2020.
“It’s a pretty straight-forward build,” she said. “We’re really just putting up fence, a little bit of hard surfacing and planting trees.
“It’s not really a complicated construction, so we’d like to have something in sooner than later.”
Partridge said the city had also considered Flamborough Centre Park, but was found to not be suitable due to how wet it gets. Consequently, Conservation Halton is planning to naturalize a portion of the park.
Waterdown resident Lindsey Ryder, who owns a dalmatian and a whippet, said there is definitely a need for a dog park in the area.
“As a village, there’s a lot of dogs here,” she said of Waterdown. “We don’t have anywhere to run them – not everyone has big yards.
“I think there’s definitely a need.”
Ryder said she has used the dog park on King Road in Burlington in the past, but said it is now more difficult to get to due to the closure of Mountain Brow Road. She added because the park has to be accessed by car, the dogs are often very excited when they get to the park.
That excitement, she said, can lead to issues in the park.
“The nice thing about Joe Sams, at least for the people in the core and north (Waterdown) is it’s walkable distance to it,” she said, adding dog owners could walk the Waterdown Wetland Trail to Joe Sams and then visit the dog park.
However, she would anticipate many people driving to the location, which could mean a number of excited dogs in the park. To that end, Ryder said she is concerned about the expectations for park etiquette.
“I hope it’s managed properly and owners going in have a good idea as to how to control their animals,” she said. “I would just like to see some protocol, expectations and etiquette.”
The City of Hamilton’s general dog park rules include requirements for respecting the safety of others, having dogs under voice control, and not allowing dogs to bother or chase people.
Ryder said if the park is properly managed, she thinks a dog park is a “big win” for Waterdown. She said she would likely use the proposed park, but perhaps not during busy periods.
“I would probably watch the park for quiet times and try and get in there when there’s not a lot of people,” she said. “I could see it being very popular, though.
“The need is there – it’s been a long time coming.”
Partridge said the city is soliciting feedback from residents who live in the area of the park, as well as people who would use the dog park.
To submit comments or questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, July 17.