Tag Archives: Leash Free Zone

Dog Zone almost ready. Nothing changes.

The new leash free zone is almost complete with a glaring exception and a puzzling oversight.

The zone looks a bit like a small horse paddock. They’re at the post…

There is no signage or anywhere to put the poop bags / cigarettes butts and coffee cups that the zone will generate. There is also some work left to ensure the fencing is well attached. Still, for a Toronto project it has been constructed relatively quickly, especially considering that two other major projects have been happening in the vicinity.

Benches are provided for owners to watch their dogs.

One major design flaw seems to be with the small dog enclosure.

An ‘airlock’ that ensures dogs don’t escape when one gate is opened.

There are two double-gated ‘airlocks’ that ensure safe entry of new dogs without allowing an unleashed dog to suddenly dart out into the park. So far so good. Unfortunately both gates lead into the large dog section.

I would have made one entrance for the large dog enclosure and a separate one for smaller dogs; but then, I’m not an expert.

The northern ‘airlock’. Note the small dog entrance some distance away accessible only from the large dog enclosure.

The long walk through the large dog section to access the small dog zone.

Unless something changes, it looks as if small dog owners will be forced to run the gauntlet through the large dog enclosure.

Some fencing still needs to be attached to the posts.

As I was taking photographs, an elderly gentleman walked by with his Jack Russell off leash, ignoring the zone. That might be a problem with this particular zone – it’s just so much nicer in the rest of the park.

Only time will tell if people will actually make use of the zone and follow the rules once they’re posted. There certainly seems to be no difference in the behaviour of many people who still come and go with their dogs off leash.

March 2017 Construction Progress Report.

Sewer pipe linings awaiting placement.

Sewer pipe linings awaiting placement.

Work proceeds in full swing on the sewer relining project. Instead of replacing the sewers, new linings are being pushed and pulled to line the insides of the original pipe. Apparently this will allow a few more years before the old pipes need to be replaced. This means another 18 months of heavy slogging along the Humber valley.

Workers access the main sewer in preparation for re-lining.

Workers access the main sewer in preparation for re-lining.

Sewer-map

City of Toronto map showing the path of the sewer and its main access points.

The footbridge connecting Lions Park with Hickory Tree Road is almost complete and will make a difference to the many people on foot who move between Weston and Etobicoke. The new version is wider, all metal (except for railings and trim) and has viewing decks that will be useful during soccer games on the artificial turf below.

One of the decks of the new footbridge during construction.

One of the decks of the new footbridge during construction.

The new bridge shouldn’t require salt (the old wooden one was regularly salted in winter) and it will have bicycle troughs for walking bicycles up and down.

The leash free zone further down Raymore Park is taking shape. The surface has been laid and fencing is under way. The two areas for different sized dogs are becoming evident. This project should be ready by summer.

Panoramic view of the new area looking north. Click to zoom.

Panoramic view of the new area looking north. Click to zoom.

Finally, although the Humber River retaining wall was completed late last year, the staging area used to construct the project has been restored and now this blank canvas awaits re-planting, hopefully this spring.

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Off Leash Zone latest

In preparation for the new off-leash area by the weir in Raymore Park city staff have removed the baseball diamond fencing that was installed a few years ago but rarely used.

The old baseball fencing has gone.

The old baseball fencing has gone.

The view north from the upcoming leash free zone.

The view north from the upcoming leash free zone.

We’ll have to see if the extended deadline for work on the Humber retaining wall will delay the opening of the new dog facility. Workers did manage to remove the fencing without any logistical problems.

Off-Leash Meeting Thursday.

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The final meeting to give the nod to a leash free zone for Raymore Park will be held this Thursday. Read more here and here. Councillor Rob Ford is scheduled to attend. The anticipated spring opening date will likely be pushed back because of delays to the retaining wall installation and sewer ‘rehabilitation’ work that will follow.

  • Date: Thursday, February 25
  • Time 6:30 – 8:30pm
  • Location: Westmount Junior School, 95 Chapman Road.

Raymore Park Leash Free Zone Likely

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:

Raymore-Proposed-Leash-Free-Zone

Raymore Park showing the proposed off-leash zone. Google Earth.

The site as it looks now (September 2015)

The site as it looks now (September 2015).

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.

Leash Free Zone Proposed for Raymore Park

Two baseball diamonds have occupied the middle of the park for years and have been virtually unused for almost a decade. In that time they have been regularly mowed, the infield regularly graded and a few years ago, the batters’ cages were replaced and bleachers renovated. Because of the lack of use over the years, I suggested that the park manager consider planting some native trees and extending the growing canopy that already exists to the south. This would create a wildlife corridor extending the length of the park. His response was that plans were in place for a cricket or soccer field.

Toronto is committed to increasing its tree cover from the current 28% to 40% over the next decade. It is widely recognized that flooding events are ameliorated by tree cover. As recently as July 8th 2013, a rain event caused considerable flooding throughout Toronto because the sheer volume of water overwhelmed the sewer system. Trees and the ground beneath them are natural sponges that absorb water and release it slowly. In addition to providing cover for deer and other animals, tree cover tempers the local climate making it cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Now instead of trees, there is a proposal to establish a leash free zone for dogs in that location.

Aerial view of Raymore Park.

Aerial view of Raymore Park. (click to enlarge)

The ramifications of this proposal are huge.

  • The quiet nature of the park will be completely changed.
  • Wildlife (deer, waterfowl, foxes, coyotes, turtles, beaver etc.) will be adversely affected.
  • A considerable increase in car traffic into the park along with many more dogs.
  • Supervision will be difficult because of the distance from the parking lot to the proposed zone.
  • More dogs will be set loose as owners make their way to the zone.
  • The park is surrounded by homes; noise will be an issue for residents on both sides of the river.
  • An increase in motorized traffic along the Pan Am Path to empty garbage bins and provide enforcement.
  • Commercial dog walkers will be tempted to use the zone.
  • Raymore is a neighbourhood park in a quiet residential area; neighbourhood traffic levels will increase greatly.

As you can probably guess, I’m not in favour of the proposal. Councillor Rob Ford City Staff has have arranged a meeting to discuss the issue September 22, 2015 at 6:30 – 8:30pm in Hilltop Middle School’s Main Gym (35 Trehorne Drive). This City site outlines the process for allowing or denying an off leash zone.

Points of interest in the application process are:

  • The zone must also be approved by the Toronto and Regional Conservation Authority as Raymore Park is TRCA property
  • The zone would be fenced as it is adjacent to a tree planting area, a natural shoreline and not far from a playground
  • The number of licensed dogs in the area is taken into consideration
  • A shortage of off-leash zones in the area is not one of the criteria
  • Quote: “New off-leash areas will be considered in conjunction with capital redevelopment of existing parks or new park development against the policy criteria.”

In the meantime, the word needs to get out about this threat to the relatively tranquil and natural environment of Raymore Park. Please contact Councillor Ford to let him know what you think of this proposal.

Post Script: Dan Jacobs from Rob Ford’s Office contacted me with the following email:

Thank you for your e-mail.

A point of clarification – Councillor Ford was not involved in setting up this meeting, nor was he behind the proposal in the first place.  This has been initiated by City Staff.

Our office will be present at this meeting to make sure we hear directly from those affected by this proposal – there is no staff report that can substitute for input from the members of the community itself.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could amend or add to your blog post to reflect the above information.

Thank you in advance, and I look forward to meeting you on September 22nd.

So much for my reading skills! The info was in Rob’s newsletter and I put two and two together to get five.

Apologies to Councillor Ford and thanks to Dan Jacobs for the correction.