A group of Woolwich residents is looking to raise enough funds for a second off-leash dog park in St. Jacobs.
The community currently has such a facility on land at the head of the Heath Valley Trail in the public parking lot on Water Street. It consists of a mowed pathway and is not fenced. However, for some dog owners such as Lori Karn, there is a need for a park that is fenced in.
“I have three dogs. Two of my dogs are older, and they can definitely go there. We go there and they just run and everything’s good. But I have a two-year-old dog that I’ve only owned for six months, and she can’t yet because she would run away. That’s why there’s a need for this,” she said of an enclosed space.
The proposed second park would be encompass about 0.4 acres on the Heath Valley Trail, a short walk from the St. Jacobs fire station. The site is approximately 460 feet from the nearest residence, while the existing dog park trail is located within 450 ft. of the nearest residential building.
The project would cost approximately $30,000 for grading and seeding of the site as well as the installation of some 500 feet of fencing, gates and seating. The township will not provide funds for the building of the park, however it would provide maintenance at an estimated cost of $400 per year. Construction will not start on the park until the fundraising has been completed.
The additional dog park would allow the animals to get used to socializing with other dogs and humans, said another dog owner, Kevin Bechtel.
“There’s so many places in town that you can actually take your dog and so it’s pretty important for them to kind of get used to the dogs off leash so that then when they’re on leash, they’re not as freaked out and they’re ready to interact with them,” he said.
This would be the third off-leash dog park in Woolwich, with the other one currently located in Elmira between Oriole Parkway and South Field Drive. Elmira resident Ted Green said the new site would be easier to get to.
“I liked the one in Elmira, but it’s a bit of a walk. We have friends that actually have a bit of trouble walking to it,” he said of access from the parking lot.
The new park would also be better for his dog compared to unfenced St. Jacobs park, Green said.
“I have trained the dog, but the dog’s not trained well enough for my liking. He’s not a perfect dog. So of course, what does he do? The first thing he does is run off into the weeds and I’m kind of going hyper [looking for him],” he said.
The group is raising funds through the township’s Canada Helps page at www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/township-of-woolwich. Those wanting to donate can also make a payment to the township with a memo stating that it is for the new dog park.