Lack of wa­ter a bone of con­tention

North York coun­cil­lors at odds over wa­ter foun­tain at lo­cal dog park by Jo-Anne Craine

Bayview Post - - News -

For years, North York res­i­dent and dog owner Paul So­bel has been ask­ing the city to pro­vide a des­ig­nated wa­ter source for dogs in the Earl Bales Park off-leash zone, to no avail.

“If there’s no wa­ter for the dogs and no shade, and you have a Ger­man shep­herd with black on him on an 80 de­gree day? You can’t keep your dog out­side for 10 min­utes. It’s dan­ger­ous for the dogs,” said So­bel, who es­ti­mated that he sees any­where between 50 and 200 dogs there each day.

The Earl Bales dog park is lo­cated in Ward 10 but also draws many res­i­dents from the neigh­bour­ing Ward 23. A wa­ter foun­tain has been es­ti­mated to cost the city ap­prox­i­mately $30,000.

Coun­cil­lor James Paster­nak, of Ward 10 York Cen­tre, said he’s pre­pared to chip in half the cost but has called upon coun­cil­lor John Fil­ion, of Ward 23 Wil­low­dale, to fund the re­main­der.

Ac­cord­ing to Paster­nak, his of­fice has had half the money set aside for years. How­ever he noted that So­bel is not one of his con­stituents.

“[So­bel] was go­ing to work with his lo­cal coun­cil­lor [ John Fil­ion] in the bor­der­ing ward to se­cure the other half. And he failed to do so,” said Paster­nak. “So­bel’s lo­cal coun­cil­lor has mil­lions of dol­lars for park im­prove­ments from de­vel­op­ments. We are not ask­ing [for] the sun [or] the moon.”

How­ever when coun­cil­lor John Fil­ion was con­tacted by So­bel, he said Fil­ion re­ferred him back to Paster­nak.

“We re­ferred him to coun­cil­lor Paster­nak with the ex­pla­na­tion that cap­i­tal funds are al­lo­cated by ward and that this type of project would not qual­ify for [Plan­ning Act,] Sec­tion 37 fund­ing in an area re­moved from where the funds were gen­er­ated,” said Fil­ion.

So­bel claimed to have de­liv­ered a pe­ti­tion of 200 sig­na­tures to Paster­nak’s of­fice and said he re­mains frus­trated it’s taken so long to get any ac­tion.

Paster­nak said over his six years in of­fice he has seen the ad­di­tion of benches, young trees and two struc­tures that pro­vide shade.

“I’ve been a strong ad­vo­cate of dog parks from the mo­ment that I ar­rived at city hall, and we’ve in­vested hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars into them,” said Paster­nak.

Paster­nak said City of Toronto, Parks, Forestry & Recre­ation doesn’t cur­rently have any­thing in the cap­i­tal plan for a foun­tain, and there’s “noth­ing in the by­law” about the city be­ing re­quired to pro­vide one. Paster­nak added that crowd­fund­ing may be the only re­main­ing so­lu­tion.

“You can’t keep your dog out­side for 10 min­utes. It’s dan­ger­ous for the dogs.”

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