comments 6

The Gate

The Mysterious Gate

A gate has appeared at the off leash area at the R.L. Clark filtration plant. This is at one of the holes in the fence that runs along the east side of the area. A number of dog owners have wanted to see gates put in because there is traffic, including buses on the road out there. You might say, well, you’re dog should be under voice control, and that’s true enough, but sometimes when you get three or four dogs chasing another in play, they simply shut off their brains. I’ve seen it happen countless times.

No gate here

I was at the park at about 11:30 yesterday morning and there was no gate, but when I took the dogs out at 7:00, there it was. I’m pretty sure the City had nothing to do with this. If the City had done it, a crew would have been out there in early morning. There would have been a truck and maybe a scissor lift. Two people would have been out there holding signs to slow traffic. There might be a visit from the health and safety committee. I can see it being a photo opportunity for local politicians. Moreover, it would have been a better gate. The new gate is clearly a clever home-made effort. It does the trick though.

At the public meeting prior to the opening of the dog park, I spoke and suggested the leash free area be fenced. Quite a number of others spoke too, asking for the same thing. However, the City waffled on this. There are some people who don’t want a fence, and given the tiny portion of the huge available field designated for dogs, I can see why. Without the fence in place, the whole huge field has become the dog park with the signed area as its crux. Dogs gather in the leash-free area, but I suppose the good thing for dog owners is that nobody bothers much about the actual boundaries. I would like to see a bigger area for dogs and one that is safely fenced. More garbage cans, some benches, lighting and water would be bonuses. There currently exists a fence along the east boundary of the leash-free zone. It just has openings instead of gates. There are areas along the fence where even a lab-sized dog can get under the fence with ease.

South Boundary - why here?

The leash-free area is poorly placed. In the winter the wind howls through there, and in the spring it becomes a soaking barren and uninviting bog. To the south of the leash-free area is a huge area that forms a lake after every rain. It has dried up for the first time since I moved to the area, this being the driest spring we’ve had in years. At the public meeting, the planners said that the area we have is the area the filtration plant people were willing to give up. A much better spot for the leash free area would be to the west of the property, on top of the hill. Alternatively, the area between the building and along the bottom of the hill and the line of trees at least doesn’t become as boggy. Another issue with the current placement is that commuters cut across the park from the bus stop and some of them don’t much like dogs. The leash-free zone falls squarely on the two commuter paths.

I think the City is right to approve more leash-free areas. They (at least the fenced ones) provide safe

North Boundary - why here?

areas for dog owners to take their dogs to play together. People who don’t like dogs or who are scared of dogs are protected from them. There are a number of parks where this works very well. We particularly like the leash free areas at Jack Darling and at Etobicoke Creek valley. Both these are in Mississauga.

There is a strong spirit of volunteerism at the Mississauga parks. We helped spread some wood-chips one day at Jack Darling and we’ll volunteer our time again when we can. I heard after the fact there was a big volunteer clean-up at Etobicoke Creek. There is a huge pile of junk that is piled up, ready to be hauled off to the dump. I think this is great, and I’m up for helping to make our local leash-free area better. However, this kind of volunteerism

lighting outside the area

shouldn’t have to include putting in a gate. The City really should invest in the basics and let local volunteers take it from there. The City’s investment in this park to date has been two garbage cans and 4 signs. That’s it. I agree that times are tough, but consider that our City government in the last term has had enough money to narrow Lansdowne Ave and is gearing up to put bike lanes on University.

I suppose in the scheme of things, the state of the dog-park is not a huge issue. It’s a park I use every day though and I want it to be as good as it can be. And, it is an election year, and I vote. When candidates for Council come knocking on 27th Street, we’ll be

this area would work better too

having this discussion. Perhaps our local Councillor, Mr. Grimes, will influence new properly made gates at the two openings on the Sam Smith Park side of the leash-free area.


  1. Salvelinas Fontinalis

    This is a peculiar situation. Voters have dogs and they want a leash free park. Land exists. The City has agreed in principle to put a leash free park there and to fence and gate it properly. The issue is, can we slide the boundaries over a bit to a slightly drier area where a bit of lighting exists and make it a bit bigger? Seems to me that the City can make that happen at a cost of only a bit of extra fence and in the process make some voters and taxpayers quite happy. If I were a politician in an election year I would be all over the opportunity to champion a basically cost free opportunity to make the voters happy like a hungry dog on a bone.

    This sounds like an opportunity for someone to pick up some community support for the next election.

    • I was frankly shocked at the response from Mr. Grimes’ office. My dealings with his office in the past have been positive. I laughed out loud when his assistant claimed that the mystery gate was installed by the City.

      I had expected that if Mr. Grimes responded it would be to say we didn’t realize there was an issue…thanks for bringing it to our attention….I’ll make sure this gets properly reviewed. Still, his office was aware that at least one resident/voter (me) was not quite satisfied with the leash-free area as it currently exists because when he sent me a survey, I filled it out and added my comments there.

      Mr. Grimes’ office told me they sent my concerns to the parks department. Ok, but I think changing plans along the way will only occur politically.

      I really hope he takes an interest and goes out there for a look. Meanwhile, I’ll be talking to all the candidates about it to see if there is one willing to take an interest in this.

  2. Go Mister Anchovy!!!

    Rah rah rah!!!!!!!!

    Yeah, see this is exactly why I love you so much…

  3. Finny's pal

    With even a minimum of consultation with users by ward six or parks department staff several obvious mistakes in the placement of this facility could have been avoided.
    The location of the dog run conflicts with a pedestrian path heavily used by bus commuters and high school students.
    I have been made aware that some of them are afraid of dogs and others are concerned about having their good work clothes muddied by unruly animals. The solution is to move the designated area as far south as possible and thereby also take advantage of the existing lighting in the water plant parking area. The signage setting out rules and regulations is out of date since by-law changes have now been enacted. Further comments will be made in future posts.

  4. The city have everything to dow with the gate.
    Following the community meeting several members of the public had suggested that the area be fenced in. Councillor Grimes suggested the gates.
    The community was advised later that fences could not be put in till the spring but we would open the park immediately..
    So now that we are putting the fences and gates in as promised you are implying its not the city doing it.
    Well of course its the City .
    Teh area will be fenced shortly and we will also be fencing and opening the park in Humber Bay Shores.
    As to the area in the park where the dog park is , this is the area that was originally suggested by the community and was approved based on the location.
    Sheila Paxton
    Executive Assistant to Councillor Mark Grimes

    • Sheila,
      I am not implying that the City did not install the gate I photographed. I’m telling you it is so. I know it beyond any shadow of a doubt. A local resident obviously fashioned it. One look and you would know this is so. I even went down there with my camera so you could see a picture of the thing. I urge you and Mr. Grimes to visit the park. A popular time is between 7:00 and 7:30 in the evening. Talk to the users of the park. Had you visited the park in the winter and early spring, you would be thinking, oh no, this isn’t so good, we have to improve it. Through much of the winter and early spring, the whole park was a boggy muddy mess. It’s better now, but we can do better. A number of dogs got sick from drinking the standing water down there, mine included. Lots of people just laugh at the leash-free area and run their dogs through Sam Smith Park. I think a leash-free area is a good thing. I support the effort. I simply want it to be good enough that I won’t want to drive to Jack Darling instead. We’re not there yet.

      When you hear that a resident has built a gate, you ought to think, oh geez, we’ve missed the boat on that, let’s check it out right away, rather than tell me that the city built the gate. Just go see, then I invite you to comment again. I think that knowing a resident has gone to the trouble to do what the City hasn’t got around to yet, should cause you pause and look into the situation.

      I’m happy to hear that there are plans to fence and gate the park. Before doing the work though, I firmly believe the right thing to do is to review the location, given the bogginess of the area, the commuter footpath, the lack of lighting when it exists very close by, and the small size. There’s still an opportunity to make this better.

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