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Guelph's second fenced-in, off-leash dog park getting positive reception

Bristol Street Park's fenced in off-leash park is the city's second dog park

The City of Guelph has heard no official complaints from nearby residents since the fenced-in off-leash dog park opened in Bristol Street Park two weeks ago. 

Opened officially on Aug. 12, Bristol Street Park is Guelph's second fenced-in, off-leash dog park after the controversial opening of Peter Misersky Park last September. 

“I think everyone realizes it's pretty important to have these for the dogs. Once Misersky was closed down, there was no way off-leash that was completely gated that you can take your dog,” said Shaughn McKenna, an area resident who was visiting the park with his dog Jackson on Wednesday.

“It's extremely clean. I rarely even see like uncleaned dog poo lying around anywhere. They’ve got the places over there for everyone to grab it so everyone’s pretty good picking up after their dogs and throwing it out.”

David Wiedrick, the city's manager of bylaw compliance, said bylaw officers go by the park regularly to keep an eye on things, but so far he has seen no formal complaints come in about the park.

Opened daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., the park has security cameras and a waste container with bags. 

Once Bristol Street Park was completed, the city added enhancements to Peter Misersky Park such as adding a security camera and soft-close door latches. 

Beside a busy road and across the street from the skate park, McKenna said he can’t imagine that the park had been quiet before the off-leash area was installed. 

Resident Joey Farr who lives right across the street from the park and does not own a dog, says while she has heard occasional arguments between dog owners and barking at night, but she said "dogs will be dogs" and the noise does not warrant enough concern for it to close down.

She said noise and traffic were much higher when the park was used for sports, referring to the site's previous incarnation as soccer fields.

“Looks like they did a nice job,” said Farr. 

“We didn’t think there would be that much need for it but it looks like there are even discipline classes going on.”

Karen Del Vecchio, a dog owner and resident who lives less than a hundred steps away from the park, said she has never heard any concerns, fights, or complaints from fellow dog owners.

“Occasionally I can hear it in my apartment if my doors are open, but I hear happy dogs in the middle of the night playing,” said Del Vecchio.

She said if she were to change one thing about the park, it would be to keep the gates locked open instead of closed because it would reduce the number of times residents touch the locks during the pandemic.