Work is currently being done to fill in the site, located at the corner of Second Avenue and Donna Crescent in Minnow Lake. The park will have two dog areas: one for small/older/less active dogs and another for larger/active dogs. Both areas will have double-gated entry/exit points, and the park, as a whole, will be
fenced in. As well, there will be a parking lot big enough to accommodate plenty of visitors to the area.
The overall budget for the dog park is pegged at about $123,000, but the actual cost will come in under that, Kett said, because the fill that was already used on that land was good enough to use for the dog park, meaning money won't have to be spent on bringing in more expensive fill.
Furthermore, the plan is to utilize the natural components of the land in its design. Instead of benches, large rocks will be placed throughout the park for people to sit on.
The major cost will be incurred through fencing in the park, a part of the project that will cost about $50,000. The fence has to be high enough and sturdy enough to handle all types of dog breeds.
While the city is fronting the money for the project, it will be paid back through the fundraising efforts of the Dogs Off-leash in Greater Sudbury committee once the park is open.
In addition to fundraising, committee members will oversee the dog park and will install their own signage, which means the city won't have to foot those bills, either, Kett said.
And, because there won't be any grass anywhere within the two dog areas, it will require minimal maintenance on the city's behalf.
“We aren't putting down any grass seed,” he said. “We're not trying to create a pasture. This is the vision of the DOGS — they've done the research, they know what will work and what won't.”
The land upon which the dog park is located was originally a sand pit filled with water. It was drained and filled in sometime in the 1960s, Kett said.
“The city decided back then to put in clean fill, and because it's fill, you'll never get an engineer to put a stamp on any type of commercial project,” Kett said. “For a dog park, it's perfect.”
Minnow Lake Community Action Network chair John Lindsay agrees. He said for years, the Minnow Lake CAN was looking at projects for that land, and had come up with a number of suggestions.
“Primarily, we were looking at an active park idea,” Lindsay said. “We have parks on Ramsey Lake, we have parks on Minnow Lake, we have a lot of recreational facilities like ball parks and skateboard parks, so we we're looking for something different.”
At that time, the city was saying it needed more soccer fields, so that was the first proposal the CAN put forward; however, it was determined the land wasn't suitable for that type of project, “so we decided to let it go to the dogs.”
It's an idea that has been in the works for some four years, as it's the vision of DOGS committee chair Pierre Perreault. It was finally unleashed last year when it gained approval from city council.
There are more than 50,000 responsible dog owners in the City of Greater Sudbury, according to DOGS.
“In Minnow Lake alone, there are 3,300 dogs, and it's the fastest-growing area in Sudbury, with 10 new subdivisions currently in the process of or planned to be built,” Kett said.
“With all that expansion, it starts to decrease the amount of green space, and where you used to be able to walk your dog, you can no longer walk your dog, and this is the answer to that.”
The ideal dog park would have, in addition to the two dog areas, a number of different trails that will hopefully remain somewhat wooded the way it is right now, Lindsay said.
There are all sorts of possibilities about what it will look like in the future, “but right now, we just want to get it fenced in, up and running and then we'll look at adding to it later, like a fountain for the dogs or benches.”
The Minnow Lake CAN has just been the catalyst to get the project going, and the park really belongs to the entire city. While it will be DOGS committee members who will be ensuring park users are abiding by the rules and regulations, a new bylaw has been passed by city council to govern those rules.
From the city's point of view, Kett said staff know the dog park will have a small economic impact, because it's just one more service the corporation can offer as a city, and it doesn't cost taxpayers anything.
“We've had emails from people all over northern Ontario who have heard we're building a dog park right next to the big box stores, and they're excited to bring their dogs with them on their shopping trips.”
Posted by Arron Pickard