YARMOUTH COUNTY - The Yarmouth Dog Park Association has downsized its initial goal of an elaborate (and expensive) design for 28 Jarvis St., provided by Upland Urban Planning Design Studio in 2016.
The cost for the four-phase proposed project is hundreds of thousands of dollars, a sum that the small, non-profit volunteer group is struggling to raise.
Committee members are now approaching the three municipal units in Yarmouth County requesting them to contribute $15,000 each for the construction of a “bare minimum, usable park.”
Those funds, along with $15,000 being raised by the committee, will be enough to fence a large dog and small dog space, develop parking, a walking path and install a water line. Pea gravel and crusher dust will be the base of the play areas.
“Our scaled down version still allows for the Upland version to happen in the future but this ($60,000) would get us started in the spring,” committee member Caroline Robertson told the Municipality of Yarmouth at its March 14 committee of the whole meeting.
“The town is donating use of the land, they have done grading on the site, cleared vegetation, and they’ve also put in some storm water management infrastructure,” she said.
Future plans for the dog park include a tie-in with the Broad Brook trail, fountain and other elements. The town will oversee the hiring of contractors for each step of the development.
Mile East Productions organized a dog jog last November as a fundraiser for the project, the dog park committee has sold tickets on baskets of donated items and members have been approaching businesses to sponsor lengths of fence in exchange for a plaque on site; 140 10-foot sections of fence are required. Close to $12,000 has been raised by the committee so far and businesses are stepping up to sponsor the plaques.
“We are prepared to do more fundraising ASAP,” said Craig Crocker, chair of the association.
“It’s certainly an important piece of infrastructure, I believe,” said councillor Trevor Cunningham after the presentation.
Councillor Loren Cushing says he owns a small dog and expressed concern that if he took it to the park it could possibly be attacked by another.
Robertson says the park will be a self-policing facility.
“If dogs are not a good fit for the park, then we’ll have to have a conversation with their owners.”
Crocker added that the play area is a large one.
“The small dog park is 250 feet long by 100 feet wide. It’s a fairly large area and we plan on one day having trees and shrubs and someday having things the dogs can play in like culvert tubes, tractor tires and more.”
“We’re not looking for just a fenced in ballfield. We’re looking for something attractive for users and people passing by,” he said.
Deputy Warden John Cunningham wanted to know if the project was an initiative of the association or the Town of Yarmouth.
Crocker replied that the town is calling the shots on construction elements. He added that if the association or committee owned the land donated for the cause, it would be responsible for liability as well.
“We certainly don’t have funds for liability insurance,” he said.
Robertson says the intent is that the project would be held to the same standard that any other park in town would be and to ensure that things are done appropriately. “The town is handling the tender process and it also takes some of the burden off of us as volunteers. Honestly, just the fundraising and co-ordinating some of the events is a lot of work,” she said.
Cunningham replied that what he sees is a not-for-profit organization that’s been “taken over by a government organization.” He said he will be speaking more about the matter at the March 20 joint council meeting.
Councillor Trevor Cunningham expressed support for the project.
“I do like conceptually what you’ve put forward here with the town owning it. I think you articulated pretty well why that makes sense.”
Councillor Patti Durkee also expressed support.
“In today’s society, a lot of people are choosing to have pets rather than children.
“It’s a way certainly to bring people together to socialize as well.”
Earlier this month, the Town of Yarmouth approved a motion to commit $15,000 to the project if the other municipalities did.
More about the dog park
The Town of Yarmouth provided the $15,000 cost of the Upland design, which provided a topographical survey of the proposed site, several layouts, estimates and other information.
The town is providing the two-hectare Jarvis Street site for use of the dog park and will maintain the property.
In 2016 the Town of Yarmouth surveyed residents in the region for interest in a dog park – 48 per cent (279) of the responses in favour were from residents who live in an adjacent municipality (Argyle or Yarmouth).
Other stories about the Yarmouth Dog Park: