Sunday’s rain held off just long enough for the Park Pals and their four-legged friends to carry out the official leash cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the South Dundas ‘off leash’ dog park located in the Earl Baker Park in Morrisburg.
The Dog Park “is another enhancement in South Dundas we can certainly be proud up,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds as he prepared to cut the celebratory leash.
Byvelds recalled how he told the Park Pals committee, after council viewed the design concept prepared by landscape architect Wendy Graham, that “I am looking forward to seeing the best dog park in Ontario.”
“I think this committee has certainly done that job. It looks beautiful,” he said Sunday.
“When the project started, it was something that was novel, something new. We allowed the idea to keep on going, and I think it kept on going because a group of people worked hard to keep it going. I know there were a lot of issues on the location, but in the end we are here, and I haven’t heard anyone say this wasn’t the best thing to do.”
Joining Byvelds to bring congratulations from the municipality were councillors Evonne Delegarde and Jim Graham. Former councillor Delbert Jones, who provided valuable help to the Park Pals Committee to get their project off the ground, also joined the ceremony.
Park Pals chair Tracey Veinotte thanked former Mayor Rowdy Gillard for his support and mentioned the support initially given by the late Mayor Charles Barkley.
“A key in getting the Dog Park we have today was the support of our councils,” said Veinotte. “We thank both the past and present councils for being the visionaries they are. It took a lot of backbone to make the decisions. We respect that and thank you.”
“It is due to a bunch of tenacious ladies that we are finally here today,” said Veinotte.
“Janeen (Wagemans) was proably the first phone call I got, and she’s been a real trooper throughout.”
Other Park Pal committee members are Willie Harper, Eileen Johnston, Ree Graham, Sandra Van Allen, Barb O’Neil, Cole Veinotte and Christyn Veinotte.
Major sponsors thanked for their contributions to the park were Michel Proulx (Canadian Tire), Riley Hatherall (Valu-mart) and Kim Butler (Morrisburg Scotiabank).
“I also want to thank Wendy Graham, our landscape designer, who made a huge contribution. Wendy donated her time and effort and she’s created this park in a way that it integrates with the rest of the park.”
The Dog Park (two areas, one for small dogs and the other for large dogs) has been a popular and very busy spot for dogs and their owners since the gates opened earlier this summer.
It is enhanced by a beautiful flower garden in a central stoned greeting area with benches, a dog drinking fountain and a memorial-brick pathway.
Making Graham’s design a reality were Scott Hall (SBD Construction), Buster and Eric Sneath (Buster’s Backhoe), Danny McMahon (D&H Fencing) and Gerben Schaillee (landscape consultation).
Although the rain caused an early shutdown of Sunday’s planned activities, the event was attended by several special interest groups including the Cornwall SPCA and Canadian Guide Dogs.
Dog handler Barry Keicks was on hand with his dog Gage, but rain cancelled their demonstration.
Rev. Noreen Gullons (South Dundas Lutheran Parish) conducted a ‘Blessing of the Park’ and offered ‘Pet Blessings’ after the ceremony.