DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: After years of waiting, a local off-leash dog park may soon be on its way.
In recent months, a committee has be working on the long-sought goal of bringing an off-leash dog park to Uxbridge. On the morning of Monday, Dec. 14, Tony Lauria presented the group’s proposal to councillors where it was met with great enthusiasm.
The proposed dog park would sit just south of the Uxbridge Historical Centre at the corner of Brock St. and Conc. 6 on a fully-fenced, 1.5 acre parcel of land.
Mr. Lauria noted that 33 per cent of Canadian households contain at least one dog, with the percentage
likely higher in Uxbridge, making the park a draw for the entire community, including seniors at nearby Butternut Manor.
“This park is not only for dogs, but the community as a whole,” said Mr. Lauria, noting that similar facilities already exist in Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Aurora and Newmarket.
The group estimated the start-up costs for the park to be about $15,000, significantly lower than a recent
park established in York Region which cost more than $50,000. The existing parking lot at the museum aids in those cost savings, as do contributions made to the efforts by several local businesses. As Mr. Lauria explained, Heyes Landscaping, Vicdom Sand & Gravel and Uxbridge Tree Service have all offered to donate their help with seeing the project come to fruition.
The group’s proposal would see the township cover the fencing costs as well as ongoing maintenance at the park, such as snow removal in the parking lot and pathway to the park, grass cutting and garbage collection. These costs are estimated at $4,000.
However, a naming rights plan, which was brought up by Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet, could see those costs lowered. As Mr. Lauria explained, the plans for the dog park call for six rest areas within the facility, which could have naming rights sold to local organizations or businesses.
Councillors were pleased with the news, and commended the group on their efforts with the project to date.
“This has been in the works for a long time, and I’m pleased to see that it has come a long way in the past few months,” commented Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor.
As well, Ward 4 Councillor Fred Bryan noted that the contributions pledged by local businesses “really emphasize the spirit of a small town.”
Mr. Lauria added that should the project be approved as part of the 2016 municipal budget, the park could be up and running as early as April 2016. As well, he noted that the group had shown their plans to a park manager with the City of Toronto, who felt it was a great, low-cost design for the township.
A temporary trial of an off-leash park was conducted in the early morning hours at Elgin Park in 2010, before concerns over potential liability for the municipality ended the experiment.
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