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Off-leash park dismal failure

Attempt to turn Tolmie Park over to the dogs is barking up the wrong tree

Editor, The News:

The recent attempt to turn Tolmie Park into an off-leash park was shocking to say the least.

As a resident of Hammond for the past 13 years and living within a block of the park, I was saddened to see a beautiful park that is frequented daily by children and families handed over to a very small group of individuals with an agenda.

The off-leash park idea has been tried in other areas of Maple Ridge, and as you aware, it has been a dismal failure.

The many children in our area use the park for playing ball and outdoor play, and when you segregate the park for the dogs and their owners you eliminated the local kids’ ability to use a ball diamond that was within the fenced off boundary. You also closed in the only section of flat, open ground that the kids play ball and soccer on.

How is this unobtrusive?

This poor planning was further compounded by the fact that the kids were on an extended break from school and now had no where to play during the day.

Hammond is growing daily, with many new young families residing here with young children.

I am a dog owner and we deal with pet ownership in a responsible manner. This does not require our own dog park, while forcing the local kids onto the streets to play.

The City of Maple Ridge would be doing the local community a service by putting in appropriate sidewalks so that pedestrians, including kids and dog owners, don’t have to walk down narrow streets with busy traffic and ditches on either side of the street.

Several years ago, dog waste bags were installed at a location in the park and ever since we, as nearby residents, have had to pick-up empty and full “doggie bags” that are left around the park, in the ditches and on the edge of our properties.

Now you propose to invite people and their pets to come to our area and crap in our park in the name of socializing their animals.

Who will be responsible for damages when a child is bitten as a result of these off–leash animals?

Is your recommendation that only dog owners enter these areas?

It is bad enough when I witness dog owners walking their dogs on a leash and they can barely hold onto them because the dogs are so big and aggressive.

How will these same individuals deal with those animals when they turn their aggression on the other dogs in the park?

Please leave our small, valuable park to the residents living in the area and quit using Hammond as the dumping ground for the rest of Maple Ridge.

I dare you to try to situate a similar park in areas like Kanaka or Rock Ridge.

Those residents would not be accepting of this any more than we are and you would be quickly ending that venture.

You have asked for my input as a resident of the area and having spoken with many, many people in the area, I am not alone in my opposition to this poorly thought out trial.

Dean Murphy

Maple Ridge