In spite of the fact that Raymore Park was rejected as a candidate for leash free zone consideration as recently as June 2014, organizers of the recently held residents’ meeting seemed to confirm that the zone is a done deal. Apparently ‘someone’ applied last June, and the City must consider the site. Oddly the city’s reasons against a leash free zone in Raymore were the same as those for rejecting adjacent Lions Park, namely, ‘TRCA, ravine, natural heritage’. The document may be accessed here.
The meeting was attended by about 25 people and the proposed zone was illustrated – I have outlined an approximation as the organizers distributed no hard copy:
The zone will be about 450 metres from the parking lot yet only about 100 m from nearby residences (the fact they are TCH homes may have eased concerns). The baseball diamonds will remain in place as removing them would involve park owners, TRCA and it’s ‘too much hassle’ according to the meeting organizer. The zone will occupy ¾ of an acre down at the southern baseball diamond in a rectangle following the river about 15 feet from the far side of the path. It will be fenced with pine wood rail fences so at least it won’t look too bad. Its northernmost tip will be about half-way up the open field (perhaps a little further than what I have drawn). I did suggest planting trees to the north of the zone which would hopefully dampen the sound somewhat. The organizers’ positive response to this suggestion may have been a way of easing my concerns; we’ll see. Trees to the south will provide shade. Water and lighting will not be supplied as the location is too remote and the budget small. Supervision by city staff will be minimal thanks to budget restraints and may I cynically suggest, the long walk from the parking lot.
When I suggested that the majority of people using the zone will be with unlicensed dogs, the response was a bit of a metaphorical shrug. From what I gather, nobody will be checking for dog licenses – even in the early days of this thing. Professional dog walkers will be allowed to use the zone.
The proposed opening hours are 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. year-round (even though the park gates are locked from November until April). This will create parking issues along Raymore Drive and Tilden Crescent. Organizers then talked about keeping the gates open year-round which some in the crowd thought was unlikely as even the ploughs get stuck occasionally.
The zone will be installed by spring of next year.
The organizers claim that traffic and noise levels won’t increase by much but they don’t like getting complaints about the zones it will be up to residents to phone 311 if people are abusing the area or being noisy.
There will be one more meeting to discuss the plans based on community input.