Council votes to close Africville dog park in Halifax – once replacement is ready

Published on June 25, 2014
Dog owners gather at Grand Parade to protest the possibility of Africville Park no longer being off-leash on June 17.
Metro Halifax/Jeff Harper

HALIFAX - Halifax regional councillors agreed that the off-leash dog park in Africville should be decommissioned, but didn’t like a proposed timeline that would have required the closure to happen in a little over three weeks.

Coun. Jennifer Watts tabled a motion that required closing the off-leash park by July 18, and would have launched a staff review of off-leash parks in HRM.

Watts amended the motion to also launch the process of opening a new off-leash dog park to the east of the Africville parking lot.

“The option…is not perfect..but it is a step to provide a facility, in the interim, that will be in place this year,” she said.

Councillors all agreed a national historic site shouldn’t be used as an off-leash dog park, but were unhappy with the tight deadline, saying the park shouldn’t be closed without an alternate in place.

“I don’t see any emergency here, and I’m really opposed to jumping any queue for staff time, report time, costs, all that stuff,” said Coun. Barry Dalrymple.

The motion that was eventually approved doesn’t set a deadline for the closure of the park.

Africville Heritage Trust co-founder Brenda Steed-Ross said that was disappointing, but she said it’s a step forward to have a commitment on decommissioning the dog park.

“We’ve waited all these years to get justice for Africville, we can wait a little bit longer,” she said. “(The park) is for everybody to enjoy, not just for the dogs to come in and dig holes, and whatever. It’s just a disrespect.”