There was a recent letter to the editor that made me stop and think about how long
this whole dog on the beach debate has been going on. I have been in Port Stanley
for almost twenty years and during all that time the debate has come and gone too
many times to count, just like the seasons almost. Over time I've come to think
of this familiar debate as both a curse and a blessing, it's a conversation topic
that always seems to get people excited and talking.
There is a divided opinion on what should happen on our beaches because there really
doesn't seem to be a place for people to walk their dogs in Port Stanley. And sure
you might think that I'm biased in some way, but through all my days of living on
this planet, I have also had the pleasure of owning several dogs. I do not have
a dog right now, but I do have lots of fond memories to remind me of the fun and
responsibilities of having a dog. A pet can become your best friend, and at the
same time your best friend also becomes your responsibility for providing proper
sleeping arrangements, healthy meals, some regular exercise, a place for your pet
to do it's daily business, and if your lucky, and can afford it, do all this on
your own property.
A few years ago a joint effort between the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority,
the Municipality of Central Elgin and the City of St. Thomas created the Kettle
Creek Dog Park on the Dan Patterson Conservation Area on Mapleton Line next to Highbury
Ave. that would be safe area to take a dog for some exercise and it's daily business.
I was out there when it was first opened to get some photos and do a story. At the
time this seemed like a giant step for dog owners as this was the first public for
dogs only place in the area. It didn't take me long to realize that even though
this was a great idea and seemed to be very popular, an everyday trip to the site
seemed to be an issue because a person had to drive there. Taking your dog for a
walk to visit this Dog Park several times a day did not seem be a practical solution
for everyone that has a dog, but it did prove a point, many people do use it.
During the 2018 Central Elgin Budget talks of a dog park for Port Stanley came up
in the discussions that would have cost taxpayers a negligible amount of money because
it was to be located on reclaimed land that was part of Port Stanley's old sewage
treatment system. The idea was dismissed rather quickly, but it could have been
an effort in the right direction by creating Port Stanley's first dog only park.
Some information that came out of a Council meeting indicated that the Municipality
might be able access a system that keeps geese off of public sidewalks which could
keep future geese deposits to a minimum. So, a possible solution for the geese problem
could be on the horizon, but one for a persons best friend is still not in sight,
so my only advice would be, "Don't forget to clean your shoes".