Guelph’s fenced-in dog parks open, but council vote could close them

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: City of Mississauga reopens public spaces' Coronavirus: City of Mississauga reopens public spaces
On Monday, a number of dog parks, tennis courts and other green spaces reopened in Mississauga – Jun 1, 2020

Both of Guelph’s fenced-in dog parks are now open to residents, but they face being closed ahead of a city council vote.

The gates of the dog areas at Peter Misersky Park and Bristol Street Park were unlocked on Wednesday, and they are open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Read more: Motion to keep Guelph’s fenced-in dog parks closed to go before city council

But Ward 3 Coun. June Hofland is calling for the parks to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“With the arrival of COVID-19, it is essential that we reconsider these small fenced areas,” Hofland states in her motion that is going to city council on Aug. 24.

The motion calls for the parks to close until city staff find a larger fenced-in area that is not in a residential area.

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A report on additional sites is expected later this year during the 2021 budget process.

Mayor Cam Guthrie has said he will not support Hofland’s motion because there are no concerns from the city, public health or the province related to COVID-19.

“It is up to the individual resident to be mindful of sanitizing their hands after touching high-touch contact surfaces like door handles and gate latches,” he said. “Likewise, it is also up to everyone to maintain physical distancing.”

Read more: Guelph’s fenced-in dog park to remain open, plans for 2nd park continue

Dog parks were allowed to resume operation as part of Phase 2 of the province’s reopening plan and the city said they have reopened theirs based on advice from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

While the fenced-in area on Bristol Street is brand new, the one at Peter Misersky Park is reopening after it was closed following complaints from nearby residents.

The city said both locations have soft-close latches to reduce noise, new signs with updated rules and hours, and security cameras that will be installed later this month.

“We’re committed to ongoing monitoring of Bristol Street Park and Peter Misersky Park to ensure that rules are being followed,” said Luke Jefferson, the city’s manager of open space planning. “We will track and document concerns from residents and use this as a tool to assess further mitigation efforts.”

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Study investigates how COVID-19 infections impact pets – Apr 29, 2020

The city said long-term measures for Peter Misersky Park, like moving the fence line farther away from homes, will not be considered until later this year to see if what they have done already has addressed the concerns of residents.

Read more: Guelph’s only fenced-in dog park already faces closure 5 months after opening

Residents can report concerns about dog poop or dog behaviour to the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091.

The city’s bylaw office can be reached at 519-837-2529 if users are not following the rules.