Two local dog parks to stay open

Neighbours say safety and noise are of tremendous concern


Members of the Richmond Hill K9 Klub say the town needs these two parks

The Tower Hill off-leash dog area (Yonge and Tower Hill) has been a subject of controversy since it first opened in 2009 as a pilot project. Now, Richmond Hill Town Council has recently made a decision to keep that park and the other local off-leash area at Phyllis Rawlinson Park open. They have also instructed town staff to investigate the feasibility of opening up two more.

The decision was made at a town council meeting last month. Many turned out in support of and against the current and future dog parks.

Yuri Gerber, of Moraine Ridge Drive, near Tower Hill, spoke out against the decisions. He brought forth a number of concerns, from safety to noise and mess cleanup.

“I have a personal responsibility for my backyard,” said Gerber. “You [dog owners] are personally responsible for any accident that may be happening.”

Coun. Carmine Perrelli defended the parks, saying they produced no more noise than a baseball diamond. However, Gerber doesn’t agree. “Have you heard baseball at 6 a.m. or after 11 p.m.?” Gerber asked. According to town documents, in 13 months 179 complaints involving the park were reported, 109 being for barking/noise.

“In fairness, there have been a couple of incidents that they have been concerned about where people have let their dogs off leash before they actually got to the enclosed off-leash area,” said Coun. David West who was still supportive of the parks overall. “As they’re passing these residents’ homes, these dogs are off leash, and that’s not acceptable.”

The Richmond Hill K9 Klub was quick to celebrate the decision. “Here we are, five years later, and we finally have our park,” said president David Walker. “We’re looking forward to helping the town with other parks.”

Walker is sure that the complainants will not challenge the decision again. “They threw everything at the town that they could,” said Walker. “The town’s done their due diligence and the complaints aren’t warranted.”

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