Town, club to look into dog park

Duane Hicks

The Town of Fort Frances and the local Kiwanis Club will partner to possibly develop an off-leash dog park here in the near future.
An ad hoc off-leash dog park committee will be established to select a site, as well as look after the design and development of such a park.
Kiwanis president Shanda DeGagne-Begin said the idea for an off-leash dog park resulted from a survey conducted amongst club members.
“We had a large response from our new members, most of them being dog owners actually, that they would like to see some type of off-leash dog park in the community,” she noted.
“Most communities don’t have it but there was some interest there.”
DeGagne-Begin said such a park provides an alternative for dog owner who currently are using the La Verendrye Parkway—not all of whom clean up after their pooches.
“It was really the membership that came in that drove the interest in this,” she remarked. “So we said, ‘Let’s approach the town and see if this something that they’re looking at,’ and it happened to already be in the strategic plan.
“So we said, ‘Let’s move forward and see if we can work together doing something.’”
There likely will be a cost for an off-leash dog park, but DeGagne-Begin said the club does have funds to help pay for such a community project if it’s the will of the membership.
“All our funds are raised in the community and we like to keep the majority of our funds in the community,” she explained.
“Our priority is typically children, but anything that is beneficial to the community we’ll look at supporting.”
The ad hoc steering committee will consist of two members of council (likely Couns. Andrew Hallikas and Ken Perry), two Kiwanis Club members, one bylaw officer, Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown, and two members of the public (these last two positions will be advertised by the town).
Terms of reference for the off-leash dog park will be developed at the committee’s first meeting and forwarded to council for approval.
In a report received by council at its regular meeting Monday night, Brown said some factors that need to be considered when discussing a possible off-leash dog park include:
•the participation of local partners in decided the site of the park and financing it;
•increased vehicular traffic;
•noise and smell from the park;
•appropriate location for dogs, owners, and the community;
•size and layout of the park (both large dog and small dogs);
•all-season usage;
•establishing rules for the off-leash dog park; and
•whether the new park should be located beside or in an existing park/green space.
Planters, pay toilets
The issue of the off-leash dog park is part of a Parks Department operational review the town has been conducting.
The same review, which set out to provide cost-effective services for the community, determined the existing Parks and Cemeteries’ staff are highly-productive throughout the summer work season and the appearance of the town has improved over the last couple of years.
The review also determined:
•that both the BIA and Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce be given written notice that within the next three-five years, the existing hanging flower pot baskets will be converted to a low water consumption desert-type planter type of basket in order to reduce the town’s manpower requirements to water these plants through the summer season;
•that cutting of the four quadrants of the Colonization Road East overpass be eliminated and no grass-cutting will place on these grounds in 2012;
•that the grass area near the Fort Frances Power Corp. electrical substation will not be cut by the town’s workforce for free in 2012 (the FFPC will be given two options: cut this grass themselves or pay the town to do this task during the summer grass-cutting season); and
•that the town investigate the possibility of “paylocks” on all public washroom doors in the future (the public would be required to pay a fee to use these washrooms after regular operating hours).
This action, which will be a consideration in the 2013 budget, aims to reduce the amount of vandalism taking place in the town’s washrooms.
All of this was outlined in a report which council referred back to the Operations and Facilities executive committee for further review.
Also at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•approved a refund to Bruce Whalen in the amount of $963.90 (being the difference between the amount paid and the amount expended for a zoning bylaw amendment);
•agreed to a recommendation to approve a financial contribution in the amount of $995.24 to the Fort Frances High School 2012 “chem-free” grad committee as a council public relations expense;
•agreed to proclaim May as the Salvation Army “Red Shield Month” in the Town of Fort Frances;
•referred a request from George Armstrong Co. Ltd. to purchase a portion of Pit Road #2 and Emo Road to the Planning and Development executive committee for its recommendation;
•referred a request to make signage changes around Robert Moore School during the school year to the Planning and Development executive committee for its recommendation, with input from the Traffic Safety Committee;
•referred a financial request from the “It’s Eh Celebration” planning committee, re: Canada Day events (June 29-July 1), to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation; and
•approved a report to utilize $229,427.36 from sewer reserve funds to complete the proposed energy retrofits/measures at the sewage treatment plant, and use $240,742.53 from the waterworks reserve funds to complete the proposed retrofits at the water treatment plant, and that the scope of energy savings to be included in the energy and facility renewal report being prepared by Honeywell be finalized as proposed by administration.