As plans move ahead for Sackville dog park, councillors learn it could cost $80K

Lexi, an 11-year-old mongrel, surveys site of Sackville dog park beside the TransCanada Hwy off the entrance road to Beech Hill Park

At their meeting this week, Sackville councillors learned that the town’s first dog park could cost about $80,000, more than triple the $25,000 available for it in this year’s budget.

As a result, town manager Jamie Burke recommended that council allocate funds in next year’s capital budget for two fenced-in parks — one for small dogs and another for larger ones.

The off-leash areas would be in a field beside the TransCanada Highway in Beech Hill Park, about six and a half kilometres from downtown Sackville.

Burke made the recommendation after consulting with Viridis Design Studio, a landscape architectural firm, and after talking with officials in Riverview and Amherst, which already have dog parks.

“Amherst, when they first started their park, they had two areas proposed,” Burke said, adding that for budgetary reasons, the town reduced it to one large, fenced-in dog park.

“Their primary advice to us was to build two separate areas,” Burke said.

He added that most of the money would be spent on fencing, but that other suggestions included structures for shade and seating, waste bins and running water, holding areas for dog owners to be able to release their pets safely, and large areas for wood chips or stone dust so that the dog parks don’t turn into a sea of mud.

Conceptual drawing showing dog parks off Beech Hill Park entrance road (R) beside the TransCanada Hwy (L)

Burke recommended that before building a separate parking lot for the dog park, the town should wait to see whether people need one, since Beech Hill’s main lot is nearby.

“Before we go out and suggest that we need a parking lot, we’d like to see how users behave in the area — whether they’re using the existing parking lot, whether they’re parking along the access road and how they’re getting into the area,” he said.

Burke suggested the town should also wait to see whether users would need a trail connecting the existing Beech Hill parking lot to the dog park.

Survey results on location (click to enlarge)

The decision to build the dog park in Beech Hill appears to fly in the face of the results of a survey the town conducted last summer. Of the 472 people who responded, 38% favoured a downtown location, while 29% chose Beech Hill.

However, during a council meeting in September, Burke argued it made sense to put the dog park in Beech Hill because of its ample parking and running water. He said that it would generate increased traffic to Beech Hill, encouraging more people to use its facilities while making the park safer. He added that a dog park could also be popular with tourists because of its proximity to the TransCanada Highway.

Burke acknowledged that while some of the properties the town acquired downtown for its flood control project could be used for a dog park, that land might still be needed if the Lorne Street project expands.

Meantime, at this week’s meeting, Councillor Bill Evans sounded enthusiastic about the prospects for a dog park next year.

“I don’t have a dog,” Evans said. “[But] one of the great things about this town is that we do something for everybody and this is a really big, nice thing, or will be I think, for a significant part of our constituents and so I think this is great.”

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6 Responses to As plans move ahead for Sackville dog park, councillors learn it could cost $80K

  1. Percy Best says:

    Hi Lexi! Were you consulted?

    If you were then I would imagine that you now prefer the location at the large acreage of vacant land behind the Community Gardens, off Charles Street, especially now that there is a great new walking trail leading to it from the center of town.

    And Lexi, I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but it appears that the remainder of the funds for the Lorne Street Phase II Project will now be used to properly drain this section of land as well as to permanently install a 6″ capacity diesel powered pump at the aboiteau terminus of the drainage ditch. This will be voted on at the regular Town Council meeting this coming Tuesday evening.

    It just may be that another 40,000 cubic meter retention pond won’t be built there after all and the land could easily be used for you and all of your four legged friends.

    So Lexi! What do your think? Two barks for a YES, one bark for a NO!

  2. Harold says:

    The Beech Hill location deprives anyone without a vehicle its use. Many students here have dogs and I might assume they do not all own a car. I have spoken with many students over the years who would like to cross-country ski, but they cannot get to the trails on Walker Road without a car. Accessibility should be a primary consideration.

  3. Alice Cotton says:

    How about making Beech Hill an off leash park? Point Pleasant, in Halifax, has no fences for them off leash sections.

  4. brian lane says:

    The survey results suggest a downtown location is preferred. The Recreation Master Plan, just adopted by this council after consultations with the public says put the dog park near downtown – strategic direction #6. Why consult at all if the only thing that matters is what the people at Town Hall think is best for us.
    How about putting the 80K towards the backup generator needed at the arena. How about not spending our remaining portion of the Lorne St. Funds on the generator or better yet in a reserve fund instead of spending every dollar that comes in.
    How about……

    • Sharon Hicks says:

      There were only three ‘options’ offered in the survey for choice of location for a dog park, and two of those three options were later ‘denounced’ by staff when the report was presented to council.

      The ‘downtown’ option was rejected because the town wants to reserve its properties in that area, for possible use in the next phase of the floodwater project, if funding ever becomes available.

      The ‘Exit 506’ option was rejected because the town simply doesn’t own any land in that area.

      Therefore there really WERE NOT three options offered, there was just the Beech Hill Park location which was going to be seriously considered by town staff.

      In addition, 13% of responders indicated ‘other’ locations, yet none of those alternate spots were revealed in the survey report.

  5. Sally Cunliffe says:

    My thoughts are dog parks are not necessary with so many trails and so much ‘greenspace’ but that that $80K could sure go towards funding a really awesome concrete skatepark project IN TOWN for all the youth here, tourists, and university students who have said they would enjoy having a great concrete skatepark facility. My dogs and I don’t have any desire to use the car to drive to a park out of town to play…. we used to use Beech Hill for that but then the frisbee people took it over and made us feel very unwelcome there….. so I wouldn’t use it .. gearing it towards traffic passing through rather than what the population of the town wants is silly stuff.. but I have come to expect that. Also, congratulations tonight to our Tantramar Football Team Winning Against Riverview in Fredericton – score 23 – 13 – fifth year in a row Champions.. wow! Coach O’Neill and team – well done !

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