South rink is not a dog park

We’re happy that the dog owners in our community and from around St. James were able to make use of our rink this past year while we await repairs to its boards. What started as an occasional use by small dog owners has exploded to daily use by dozens of dogs of all sizes.

It’s unfortunate that we have had to remove the doors on the rink, but it became necessary. The rinks and the green space within them should be accessible to everyone. They are not a city sanctioned dog park.

In recent months our volunteers have had to field complaints about harassment, dog owners not sharing the space, misrepresenting themselves as Bourkevale volunteers, feces being left behind and most recently holes are being dug in the rink space. Our own volunteers have been chastised for not closing the gates properly while they struggled to move throughout to make ice for the community and not everyone is comfortable to have large dogs bounding towards them while they perform their tasks.

We need the holes to be filled and the grass to grow back in so that the space can be used for upcoming public events, team practices and outdoor concerts. We also need to ensure our volunteers don’t have to work under unpleasant circumstances. Picking up after pet owners and having to work on boards that are being urinated on is unacceptable.

There is a designated dog park across the parking lot. It’s unfortunate that it is not fenced. We have advocated for the area to be fenced in for the good of the community, and perhaps it’s time for the community to rally together and advocate for a fenced area. Please reach out to our city councillor Shawn Dobson [email protected].

I hope this has provided some insight as to why we’ve had to make the decision we did to remove the gates. Please feel free to reach out if you have further questions.