Why is an Off-Leash Dog Park proposed for the York Street area?

    Development of an off-leash dog park in the South End is identified as an action plan in the City of Greater Sudbury Parks, Open Space and Leisure Master Plan Review (2014). Over the past three years, residents have formed the York K9 Club to work towards the development of an official off-leash dog park in the York Street area. Volunteers serving with the York K9 Club applied and qualified for a grant under the City of Greater Sudbury’s Healthy Community Initiative Fund to develop an off-leash dog park in this area. The total grant for the dog park is $47,000. The York K9 Club will contribute donations from supporters of this initiative.

    Where is the proposed location for the York Street Off-Leash Dog Park?

    Undeveloped land in the York Street north parking area, bordered by Paris Street and Boland Avenue, has been identified for a potential off-leash dog park. This location offers a balance between central urban access and relative distance from nearby residences and institutions. The property’s proximity to Bell Park will encourage residents to exercise their dogs in a dedicated park, rather than public green space. The existing parking lot has capacity to serve both visitors to Bell Park and the proposed dog park. An off-leash dog park is in spirit with the Bell Park Covenant which states that Bell Park lands are to be used for public park and recreation purposes.

    How are noise and pet waste controlled in off-leash dog parks?

    The City of Greater Sudbury owns, operates and maintains off-leash dog parks. Dog owners and handlers are subject to the Ontario Dog Owner’s Liability Act, the City of Greater Sudbury’s Animal Care and Control By-law and the City of Greater Sudbury’s Dog Park By-law 2012-145. Failure to abide by park rules and regulations may result in loss of privileges or fines.

    By-law regulations include:

    • Pet owners and handlers are limited to three dogs in the off-leash park
    • Pet owners must always stoop and scoop
    • Operating hours are between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily
    • Pet owners and handlers must always be in care and control of their dog and keep a leash readily accessible at all times
    • Dogs demonstrating aggressive behaviour must be removed from the park

    Through the site selection and public consultation process, the city will determine whether there is a sufficient buffer between the proposed dog park and nearby residences to minimize the impact of noise from park users.

    Why has a fence been erected for a dog park at Riverdale Playground?

    A grant through the City of Greater Sudbury’s Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) Fund was originally approved for an off-leash dog park at Riverdale Playground on York Street.  An alternate location is now being explored. Existing fencing can be moved to a new site.

    Are there other Off-Leash Dog Parks in the City of Greater Sudbury?

    The City of Greater Sudbury currently has two off-leash dog parks: the Minnow Lake Dog Park and the Azilda Off-Leash Dog Park. Both parks are located on previously vacant properties. The Minnow Lake Dog Park, located at the corner of Donna Drive and Second Avenue North, is an initiative of the Minnow Lake Community Action Network and its sub-committee Dogs Off-Leash Greater Sudbury. The Azilda Off-Leash Dog Park, located at 3878 Municipal Road 15, is an initiative of the Azilda Community Action Network and its Azilda Dog Park Subcommittee. Both groups canvassed the community to raise funds and donations in-kind for fencing, gates, landscaping and other amenities to build the parks. Volunteers continue to act as park stewards for park clean-up, promotions and enhancements.

    Are Off-Leash Dog Parks beneficial to the community?

    With local by-laws regulating the use of leashes, dedicated off-leash parks provide pet owners with the opportunity to exercise and socialize dogs in a controlled area. Off-leash dog parks:
    • Promote canine physical health and socialization to reduce nuisance behaviors and make dogs better canine citizens
    • Encourage people to exercise and to socialize with others sharing a common interest
    • Accommodate senior citizens and persons with disabilities who may not be able to walk their dogs on leash
    • Build a sense of community around parks, engagement and the environment

    What are the design requirements for an Off-Leash Dog Park?

    The City of Greater Sudbury Parks, Open Space and Leisure Master Plan Review (2014) recommends the following considerations when evaluating sites for off-leash dog parks: 
    • Existing park uses and intensity
    • Sufficient land base of not less than two hectares
    • Ample buffers from adjacent land uses, including schools and residential areas
    • Potential impact on environmentally sensitive areas
    • Accessibility via pathways, trails and roads
    • On-site parking
    • Minimum 1.2 meter (4 feet) high fencing and adequate lighting
    • Small dog enclosure and large dog enclosure with double gated entry to each
    • Provision of amenities; for example, benches
    • Adequate and proper pet waste disposal system; for example, Mutt Mitts and waste disposal removal.

    What are the requirements for public consultation for an Off-Leash Dog Park?

    The City of Greater Sudbury Parks, Open Space and Leisure Master Plan Review (2014) recommends the development of complete site selection process for off-leash dog parks. The City of Greater Sudbury is working towards this goal.