Dog owners told to sit

Journal Staff

It’s back to square one for dog owners seeking a leash-free park in Sarnia.

City council nixed a one-year pilot project once destined for Clearwater Park last week, following a backlash from nine baseball leagues and others riled by the idea of mixing right fielders with rottweilers.

The rejection left the Clearwater Dog Park Committee with nothing to show for its effort.

“I’m so upset about how this has all played out,” said Coun. Anne Marie Gillis.

The dog committee came forward in good faith, raised $5,700 to buy fencing, were recommended by staff, were approved by council, and “got thrown under the bus,” she said.

Kevin Cook, representing the ball players, said everyone agrees the city’s dogs deserve a municipal leash-free zone, but not on a busy baseball diamond used by teams that pay fees to maintain it.

The city’s only dog park is at privately-owned Blackwell Trails.

The reversal came during the final meeting of the outgoing city council before a city hall crowd representing both sides. Each had run spirited petition drives in recent weeks.

It also put the onus back on the dog committee to find another location in conjunction with city staff.