Fence Depot Owner John Locke hoping to open Cornwall Ontario’s First Dog Park for Autumn 2010!

Cornwall ON – With a little luck and a lot of hard work John Locke is hoping to have Cornwall Ontario’s first Dog Park in operation by the fall of 2010.    I had a chance to chat with the Fence Depot store owner about his two acre project on Pitt Street in the north end of Cornwall.

He envisions a member based Dog park with its own splash pool for dogs, and would feature a secure environment for not only area dogs, but for his park becoming an attraction to Cornwall for travelers coming off nearby Highway 401.

Dog owners would pay a yearly fee to have 24/7 access to the park to help cover the cost of maintenance and adding features.  There would also be options for non-members.

John recently chatted with a few Cornwall City Councilors who were very encouraging as the City would not have to write any cheques to help pay for the $40,000.00 project.

For more information contact John at Fence Depot, 3045 Pitt Street or you can call the store at 613.932.0717

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  1. I think John Locke the English philosopher would be proud of Cornwall’s John Locke for his industrious spirit, and stepping in to provide a valuable service to the community through private enterprise. I certainly give kudos to Cornwall’s John Locke for taking such initiative. There is a demand for a dog park, and as a person of business, you want to supply a dog park to our community where city council has failed to do so. I commend you and I hope you succeed!

  2. This is leadership. John Locke should run for council. Someone thats willing to take a bullet for the team deserves to be in that kind of position. A lot of current council members should take some hard lessons from this! I mean, what the hell took so long to get something like this finally going? Is it really that hard?

  3. I agree, John Locke and family are all very nice people and they love to get involved with the community.

  4. The costs associated for customers of the dog park will be $150 per year, plus HST, for up to two dogs.

  5. I don’t think John Locke the English Philosopher would care about a dog park. This is not leadership, this is capitalism. The only lesson that council will take away from this is that if they don’t do it, someone else will, so why do anyhthing? A dog park should be a free service offered by the City. This is an other case of Cornwall’s backwards regressive thinking. That being said, if we have no other options, and clearly we don’t and won’t, I will be forced to fork over the cash so my dogs can play.

    This place sucks.

  6. Rodney, I agree that the City should provide a dog park to the people of Cornwall. Locke recognized a demand in this city, and he’s offering to supply people with a a dog park. Yes it is capitalism, on the other hand there is nothing backwards or regressive about Locke creating a private service where our city government has failed to offer a public one. The real issue is why the City couldn’t commit to creating a dog park which would improved the quality of life for people here in Cornwall. If I was on City Council I would support a public dog park, but now there is the muddy issue, if Cornwall has a private dog park, should the city still create a public one which will hurt a local buisness?

  7. Author

    A group of people came to Council. They said many good things. The had a plan. They sold their concept to City Hall, but for whatever reason couldn’t make it happen. The last I’d heard was that they were meeting Guy Lauzon at Bruyere’s for a special Sunday meeting that of course resulted in over a year later…….Mr. Locke bringing a private Dog Park forward.

    Mr. Locke wanted to work with these folks but they rejected him. Now after the group, for whatever reason, didn’t move forward he is.

    You can’t blame Council on this one bit. In fact I’ll probably be singling out two particular councilors for praise in an upcoming story.

  8. Sorry, Mr.Locke, I really don,t think the citzens of Cornwall are looking for this kind of dog park.rodney vander veer is right{ a dog park should be a free service offered by this city]Surely 2 acres is not enought space for everyone to walk there dogs.Dog owners already pay for dog tags with the amount of dogs in this city,the city should have more than enought money for a dog park.
    But on a buissness side of this dog park i think its a great idea.Theres money to be made,but only if the city does not allow dogs in any of there parks or bike trails.The city will have to force the dog owners into your dog park.I think your idea should be shelved for now.and let the dog owners keep putting presure on the city to build a dog park for all citzens of cornwall,not just the ones that can afford to join your dog club.Dog owners speak up.

  9. My understanding from sources that I will not name is that there were business people putting pressure on City Councilors not to go forward with a public dog park because of their private business venture, a dog park for profit. Don’t know if there is any truth in that however I think there is enough room for both ventures. I have to agree that the 2 acre run is small and quite frankly if a public free dog park is what the citizens of Cornwall want, why shouldn’t they get it. There are splash pads for the children, bike trails, public parks, all with no user fees to the general public, many of which exclude dogs so why not give the people an area where they can connect with other animal lovers in an environment that they can safely exercise their pets. This is a much needed park for all our citizens, young, older, abled and disabled. A dog park is an amazing social opportunity for our entire community not just the dogs.

  10. Author

    “A dog park is an amazing social opportunity for our entire community not just the dogs.” I agree Eco-Chick. Belleville, which Cornwall gets compared with all of the time, has a waterfront park.

    Perhaps if the dog park group was more transparent and open it may have met with success? I felt that the group was a bit cliquish. Also, as an example, I was in a group called Friends of the Port. Very few of the people on that executive had any idea about how to actually save the theatre.

    They meant well, but when you sign on to do a job you have to get the job done, and if you don’t have certain skill sets or knowledge you have to have a bit of humility and either work with or follow those that do. When you’re a City Councilor you’re responsible to the city. There are tons of issues and you can’t just turn parks into other uses on whims.

    City management assess and report to council who then have to make the important decisions and take the heat.

    I think people need to work together more in this world, especially during a recession. Maybe the dog park group will take the steps that will lead to the type of dog park they want, but in the meanwhile, at no cost to the city of Cornwall an empty two acre lot that really wasn’t being used is now going to add some buzz to an area of the city that could use a bit more traffic and use.

    And some dogs and their owners could now have a place to run and frolic!

  11. I remember when this group came before council at least two times in the last year. There was a lot of hemming and hawing about whether this should be done privately or not (just to echo Eco Chick a little bit)…they simply didn’t want to put up any cash whatsoever. A couple of councillors (mostly D Carr, M MacDonald, and D Thibault, I think) stood up and said outright that they knew of a private enterprise that wanted to do this, so why should the City get involved? The only councillors who showed any sort of support for a public dog park were E Kennedy, B Clement, and G Grant.

    PS …great “buzz for the city”…the only dog park in Ontario to charge admission!!! Come see how backwards Cornwall is!

  12. Oh…I forgot…S Gardiner also stood up and spoke against the notion of a publicly funded dog park.

  13. admin: what would Guy Lauzon have to do with a dog park? It’s a city issue and not a federal issue.

  14. Author

    Hi Stan,

    I think you’d have to ask your friend Mr. Lauzon or the Dog Park team that question???

  15. You know, after some careful consideration, city council should put forward a motion to pay for this dog park on a yearly basis so that the citizens that already pay their dog tag fees, their taxes, etc, can actually use this dog park as one of the perks of living in Cornwall. Quite frankly, 150 bucks for a year, a lot of people aren’t going to pay, I was not aware of this cost being associated with the park. As well, I was also not aware that there was a possibility of a local business trying to put pressure on the city to not open a dog park so they can capitalize on it instead, thats just wrong. Jason brings up a good point, this puts a bit of a conundrum on the situation because for the city to now open a free dog park that competes with a local business is just wrong. So the only viable option I see now, is the city should pay a flat yearly fee, so that this park can make back its money quick enough, for all the users to be able to use the park without paying on top of all the other stuff they have to pay for.

    And I agree with Rodney, “PS …great “buzz for the city”…the only dog park in Ontario to charge admission!!! Come see how backwards Cornwall is!”, this statement I have to agree with if this is the case.. talk about taking a good idea and turning it bad.. this in effect makes it hard for people that cannot afford the fees to take their dogs there.. Many do not make enough money around Cornwall to afford this now turned luxury. It shouldn’t have to be a luxury to be able to walk your dog somewhere. 100 years ago this would have been unheard of as dogs were able to be walked wherever, as it should be.

  16. Lauzon *lol* sorry always makes me giggle

  17. Author

    Here’s on my take on this as someone that one day would like to be a councilor of this fine city. Council gets a lot of request for activities and services. To me when you’re balancing the needs vs the resources you have to make some decisions.

    Any park costs money. We closed pools because of costs. You have to decide where you want to put your dollars.

    A Dog park costs money. Even this group that failed to get a park so far would need to find funding as their proposal didn’t include funding from the city. If they as a group were lucky enough to get a location from the city, and then failed in their fund raising mission what would happen? Either the park would close or taxpayer would end up on the hook for that bill.

    We have three dogs. We have a fenced in yard so that they have some running room. I’d love to take them to a park, but I also know the tax bill on our house which is over $3,000 per year. I personally don’t want to the city to raise taxes to support a dog park.

    So where does council find those dollars? They either take them from another service; a private group raises the dollars, or in this option a private business steps up.

    In the big picture will a dog park make or break Cornwall?

    Short answer I’d love a city supported Dog park. Then again if I was on council I would not have voted to support the 3+1 Arena as it’s proposed cost wise. I’d have voted to support two separate arenas to replace what we have and make sure groups like Amateur Football were shown some love as they made an amazing presentation to council, and I’d find some money for the Arts as more people participate in the many mediums of art than play hockey in this city.

  18. Admin.Spoken like a true politician.But i don,t think a city funded dog park would raise property tax,s by $150.00 dollars a year.The arena project will though,and more.Just wondering when the city will yous the liability issue card.If Mr.locke opens his private dog park just wondering what kinds of dogs wll be allowed to join.
    Your right Jamie/ in the big pcture will a dog park make or break Cornwall?So that being said ,let the city open a public dog park for our citzens who own dogs.We are the friendly city aren,t we.

  19. If the city does open a public dog park ,think of the advertising dollars they could sale to recoup some of the money.spend.

  20. Author

    Marc I’d like to start by seeing Cornwall allow “leashed” dogs in a park or two as an experiment. Let’s see if Dog owners pick up after their poochies, and how that evolves.

    At the end of the day the minute you create a service it’s the city that picks up the bill. If Mr. Locke’s venture fails, and in no way am I suggesting it will, it’s a private business with no further burden to Cornwall. If the city supports the current group what happens then if they fail?

  21. Yeah! And who’s going to pick up the poop?

  22. So maybe we just privatize everything, and if it doesn’t turn a profit we don’t need it. Want to play on the swingset? Pay me. Teeter totter? Pay me. Perhaps we could charge for sidewalk usage, by the block or something. Maybe charge a fee for library books? Take a walk through Lamaroux Park? Two dollars.

    I’ve been to FREE dog parks in a few different cities and they are always in use, sometimes with up to 20 dogs at a time in a one acre plot. How many Cornwall parks can claim that sort of usage. Not many, if any. Some of them already have fences around them, making the transition to a dog park much easier. Once established, a dog park is fairly cheap to run, unlike a swimming pool or splash pad, for example.

    This dog park group is pointless. Once they brought their recommendation forward to the City, it should have been taken out of their hands, and let the City run with it.

    PS Council just dropped another boatload of cash on “the sporty types” with this multi purpose room they will be adding to the Civic Complex, certainly much more than the cost of a dog park. So where is the fiscal responsibility we keep hearing about?

  23. Author

    Rodney you now are seeing the system and that it works. A lot of people lobbied council for the arena and gym. They made phone calls; they threatened jobs; they did whatever it took. They did a better job than those that didn’t want the gym.

    Can the same be said for people who wanted a dog park? Sure. I want a dog park too, but if I were a councilor I’m not sure the public has shown the demand for it to warrant the cost at this point; and I think more of the blame should be at the feet of the dog park group than council or the city.

    Not every city in Cornwall has a dog park; especially if you compare to like populated cities which I’m sure one of you will.

    The system works. If you want something bad enough and lobby hard you usually will win the day. People have to work together to make their wills known. And they have to really scrutinize the candidates for council before voting or not voting for them.

    If you want a dog park call the councilors or email them. Let them know you want to know their position and tell them loudly that your vote depends on this (if it does).

    Work the system and it just may work for you.

  24. I agree. I think that is the biggest failing of this Dog park group. They needed to create pressure on council (especially in an election year) as well as creating a buzz among the citizens of Cornwall…I would be interested to see which cities of relative poulation have no dog parks….going to do a search today I think.

  25. Rodney, It seems that you might just be the catalyst needed to coordinate the Cornwall Citizen push for a public dog park. There is no reason why this effort cannot be supported by more than one group…by golly 5 or 6 groups just might get Council’s attention.

  26. A privatized dog park? John nice try, but I can read through your intentions. you know your local government is a farce when they can’t even get a dog park together. Oh wait maybe we shoul hire a consultant to tell us how to do it? After all aren’t consultants used when council members don’t have the balls to make their own decisions…. because hey if it doesn’t work they could always use the consultant scapegoat and say they simply followed the recommendations.

  27. Author

    Hey I’d take that gig. I’ve already done a ton of research 🙂

  28. Oh…. An attraction for travelers? Are you serious? What loon would travel to Cornwall to let little max enjoy the doggy splash pad when they can enjoy one for free in their own city-funded one.

  29. Capitalism is a joke

  30. Admin.Well don,t leave us in suspence,What has your research come up with?

  31. Doggy tag money should be used to fund this park. Oh wait we have to pay the overpaid govt workers that are part if this program….

    Where does all the doggy tag money go anyway? Surely the made in china tags aren’t that expensive lol

  32. Author

    Jason why does doggy tag money “have” to be used? I drove by a swimming pool today. There were more staff than swimmers on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Do you know how much that pool costs us for the summer?

    You can’t have more services and lower taxes and our tax base is already high. Mr. Locke is going to try and create a park. If dog owners like what he’s created and choose to support it the park may just make it. If they don’t then the city can consider whether they want an off leash park and its costs.

    Surely one commercial dog park is better than no dog park at all?

  33. You can provide tons of services without raising taxes…. It’s called technology… Let’s take the city buses…. what a waste… why not use technology and develop a transit system that uses electron magnetic rails that are powered by sun energy like they have in Asia….. because there is virtually no friction and dies not require fuel to run and can be programed to run unassisted we could have a zero operating cost system that could be free for everyone and not cost anything to run

  34. just bring your dog to lameroux park… When u get fined… rip the ticket up and keep playing frisbee with max … after all bi-laws and laws in general are a joke. If only people knew what common law is and how man made written laws are useless.

    but but but… people don’t pick up the poo, what if a dog bites someone….. neither one can be permanent solved with a law.

  35. My question is…the group that was trying to bring the dog park to Cornwall had several fundraisers to raise money for said park. What will be done with those monies now that a private citizen is opening a park?

  36. Any park is better than no park at all…

  37. I am not paying to use a dog park! That is the dumbest thing ive ever heard!! Whats next Cornwall? Going to charge parents for bringing their kids to the park? Maybe if there was a FREE dog park more people would get active and bring their dogs out. Benefits for both the people and the pets. We have so many parks that arent really being used much, it would be cheap and easy to turn one into a dog park. I take my dog to parks and let him play off-leash and i take my dog to Lameroux park. He is a living being who has every right to enjoy a walk in the park with me. Of all the places i’ve lived or visited, Cornwall is the most backwards grubby ghetto one. And thats putting it nicely.

  38. Well if you want it for free how will they maintain it?
    Do you feel it should be all residents to ay for it even if they do not use it?
    If you want it pay for it or else taxes will be effected.

  39. Author

    I’m speaking now as a dog owner and as a politically active person. Of course Cornwall should have some sort of dog park and dog access, but then if you think goose pooh is bad, dog droppings in the park, which already are an issue, would be worse. Also, yellow grass patches in Lamoureux Park are not what I think anyone wants.

    You can’t have zero tax growth and extra services. The blame right now should not be on the city as the Dog Park group for whatever reason failed. The Fence Depot owner deserves kudos for taking the financial risk to have a park and from what I personally have seen of the site and plan deserves zero criticism.

    Like any other service it has to make sense to the city and taxpayers.

    If you want a dog park in Cornwall run by the city you have to lobby, organize, and make it happen.

  40. @Smee: I already pay taxes for things we don’t use. Outdoor ice rinks; I’ve never touched one. Swimming pools; I don’t swim. Library; OK, I go there, but not every one does. Swing sets, teeter totters: I don’t have kids, I don’t use them. The list goes on. I don’t care. I live in a community, and I believe tax monies should be spent to support communities. There are plenty of dog owners in this city who pay taxes, and we NEED a dog park.

    @ Admin: I’ve been to numerous FREE dog parks in this province, and never once saw an untended poo. There are poo bag dispensers, and garbage cans available…and they get used. I do agree as far as the failings of the dog park group are concerned. Their approach was flawed. They failed due to their own ignorance, and complete lack of political savvy.

    I believe the cost is vastly overestimated. We have several parks in this city that could easily serve the purpose, all they would require is some fencing, and a water supply. All of the dog parks I have visited were sponsored/supported by local service groupds(rotary/kinsmen,whatever). It doesn’t need to be this hard.

  41. Why don’t they take the cost for a dog park out of the dog licence fee’s. Now if they started charging for CAT LICENCES there would be an abundance of money left over. What about that Cornwall, licence fee’s for cats?

  42. Hey smee, I don’t want this 35 million 4plex just like I don’t need a hole in the head… the hockey bunch want it? They should pay for it instead of shouldering it on the taxes of the masses.. should I be required to pay for that? a dog park is pennies by comparison, and probably much more wanted, and though I probably wouldn’t use it, I’d feel much better about paying for that!

  43. And admin, although the dog pooh problem may be real, unfortunately, its already happening, why not open a dog friendly park, it won’t make much of a difference.. there will still be goose pooh or dog pooh regardless.. In any case, people are not going to pay 150 bucks to go and let their dog pooh in a private park just for the hell of it.. may as well have a free dog park and hope for people to pick up after their best friends.. 😉

  44. I am on side with Rodney…many Cornwall dog owners pay taxes and are asking for an off leash dog park. These dog owners also pay license fees. Seems some of these fees could go to maintain an off leash park? What is the big deal? Their tax dollars may be used for hockey rinks, child splash pools, outdoor pools…facilites which they may not use. I am sure these tax payers are happy to help out their community with these facilites. All they are asking for is an off leash dog park.

  45. Author

    I’m all for a dog park, maybe two in Cornwall as we’re a growing city. I just don’t think it should be Lamoureux Park. As has been pointed out a real group has to step up to the plate and make it easier for the city to create such a park.

  46. The Standard Freeholder is posting a story today, saying that the off leash dog aprk will be located near the Optimist Park…no time frame given.

  47. Author

    The more dog parks the better for dogs. It’s good to see this group move forward although I’m still a bit bewildered by their apparent need for secrecy??

  48. I never said Lameroux park would be the best of locations, just that this city needs some free off leash dog parks, its ridiculous to think that people coming here should have to pay to walk their dogs… what a determent to relocating here..

  49. Grimmy: thats Lamoureux

  50. Sorry, my bad.. thanks for correcting me but at least you know what I meant 😉

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