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Leash-free Mississauga: Lakeside location drastic size reduction proposed!

Esaunders
July 25th, 2006, 07:18 PM
To all Mississauga and area members:

On June 28 & 29, a Waterfront development proposal meeting occurred revealing the proposed development strategy for the Mississauga parks.

The proposal included a drastic reduction in usable size for the Lakeside leash-free. Though the stated reduction was in the region of 1/3, the end result when factoring the area to be allowed to 'go natural' would result in an effective loss of use in the area of 1/2 to 2/3. This would dramatically reduce the highly used area to enhance the ameneties of a low-use area.

I wrote the Councillor for the area on July 5 on this issue, laying out my concerns as below:

"Ms. Mullin,

It has recently come to my attention that there are proposed plans to drastically reduce the size of the Lakeside Leash-Free dog park. Though the proposed reduction is maintained to be 1/3, the effective result will be between 1/2 and 2/3 reduction in usable space.

As a dog owner, resident of the ward, frequent park user and member, I find this greatly disturbing. The Lakeside Leash-Free has an extremely high rate of utilization. I am there 5-7 days/week and sometimes up to twice a day and see large numbers of people with similar rates of utilization.

This is in comparison with the 'human' portion of the park, which sees a relatively low rate of utilization.

It makes little sense to me to reduce the capacity of an area in use by a highly active community to provide enhanced facilities in a drastically lesser used area.

Please consider the following:
- Lakeside has a very loyal group of users due to the design of the park. Its relatively flat lie of the land and already small size is ideal for:

- families to bring their dog(s): children may be more easily monitored
- small/young/timid dogs: there is little chance for the dogs to get out of sight and have unfortunate incidents occur. The very design assists in preventing incidents

- the elderly/injured/handicapped: Much easier to use than Jack Darling due to the lack of hills and double gate system.

- the active ball/frisbee users: Flat enough to use balls and frisbees. I've seen many couples playing catch happily at this location while their dog(s) played.

- A reduction in park size increases the concentration of dogs which seriously increases the likelyhood of human and canine accidents.

I appreciate the necessity of waterfront development to the health and growth of the city and much of the rest of the plan seems good. However the proposed Lakeside plan seems somewhat misguided when considering the usage and location.

I would welcome further opportunity to discuss this issue.
E. Saunders
Ward 2 resident"

Esaunders
July 25th, 2006, 07:33 PM
I received the following reply:
"Dear Ms. Saunders,

Thank you for your email regarding the leash-free area at Lakeside Park. I can appreciate your concerns. However, it is important to acknowledge the origin of the leash free at that location.

The Lakeside Park leash free area was originally established to provide a "temporary" leash free location in the absence of the leash free area at Jack Darling Park during the construction of the Lorne Park Water Treatment Plant a few years ago within Jack Darling Park. This "temporary" leash free area was acceptable in the interim of immediate plans to develop Lakeside Park. Now, the City has a Waterfront Parks Strategy underway which will establish a master plan for the park's redevelopment, one of the elements to consider in Lakeside Park's redevelopment planning is whether or not the leash free area remains, is removed or relocated. Additionally, there are other recreational uses being considered for this park to alleviate the pressures on other City waterfront parks related to their high level of use.

Although not approved at this point, the preliminary master plan concept for Lakeside Park which was presented to the public for discussion at the June 28 & 29 public meetings showed a broader range of recreational activities and does include a leash free component for review. Should it be determined that the leash free area remain in the redeveloped park, its location, size and configuration will be refined to ensure its viability and fit with other facilities and components within the park.

I have forwarded your comments to staff who are working on the Waterfront Parks Strategy. If you have any further comments or questions on this work, you may contact the Project Leader, Ruth Marland, directly at ruth.marland@mississauga.ca or (phone number and extension omitted)

Thank you for your comments
Sincerely
Pat Mullin
Councillor, Ward 2"

Anyone who wishes to contact Pat Mullin may do so at pat.mullin@mississauga.ca

Anyone who wishes the phone number and extension of the Project leader Ruth Marland, please pm me.