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October 01, 2013

Rose Simpson: The new garbage bin at Conroy Pit is a load of...

Editor's note: I'm pleased to introduce you this morning to one of my favourite Ottawa writers, Rose Simpson. She's written for the Ottawa Journal and been a columnist at the Ottawa Citizen and Regina Leader-Post, she's a film producer, and she blogs almost daily over at Rose's Cantina. Rose brings a unique perspective to neighbourhood and city issues, usually with a lot of humour along the way.  I'm thrilled that she'll be contributing a column about city issues every Tuesday morning to the OttawaStart Blog.  Here's the first one.

UPDATE: CBC did a story about the dog park situation on October 2.  Diane Deans was interviewed:
Coun. Diane Deans said her office received a lot of complaints when the city took over management of the park. 
"They didn't actually get any extra money in the parks and rec budget, in fairness to [them], and no one gave them an instruction manual on what level of service that the NCC maintained at that park," Deans said. 
"So it's been a little bit of a learning curve for them and I was receiving a lot of complaints."
She said a second large bin will be installed elsewhere in the park in about two to three weeks. 
Other park maintenance, including tree trimming and weed management, has also been improved, she said.
***

Conroy Pit, an off-leash dog park in the south end of Ottawa, is one of my favorite places on Earth. It is a mecca for dog lovers who come out to see the myriad breeds of dogs run, hustle and spin. It's also a great place to socialize new canines and keep the old ones tuned up.

Unfortunately, things are changing in our beloved park and not for the better.

The City of Ottawa has recently re-gigged its budget for the park and fired its private contractors, the ones who used to come and empty the dog poo bins which were placed at the entrance to the park and at a midway point. The one in the middle has disappeared completely and the entrance bin has been replaced by what I like to call The Giant Head, a spaceship-sized dome which could easily consume a ton of doggie doo.

I suppose the change was made so that The Giant Head only had to be emptied once a millennium by some company owned by Rod Bryden. I cannot see how it could be emptied at all given the size of it. Perhaps the city has hired a poo crew to get inside and clean The Giant Head. Perhaps some chemical or other is added and the poo is incinerated.

For whatever reason, The Giant Head must have cost a frickin' fortune, much more than the salary of the poor contractor with a pickup truck.

In any case, the move has caused much inconvenience for dog walkers who had been grateful because having the second bin meant that they didn't have to walk five kilometres with smelly bags of dog feces.

The lack of a second bin has also resulted in a silent epidemic caused by dog walkers who are now hanging colorful bags of poo in the trees as if they were piñatas.

I am not alone in my objection to the new park maintenance plan.

Rose's dog Finnigan has been a regular at
Conroy Pit since he was four months old.
The good dog walkers of Conroy Pit have, of late, started complaining to Diane Deans, the councillor for the area and our good Mayor Watson. Every park in the city has at least eight garbage bins which -- I am sorry but it is true -- are filled to the brim with dog poo. Why must we taxpaying off leash dog walkers be treated like second class citizens?

Anyway, Ottawa City Council must have heard them crying foul because just last week, a city crew was dispatched to clean up the park.

There were three of them. One girl with one of those sticks and two guys who were just walking along enjoying the sunshine and collecting their fifteen bucks an hour for doing absolutely nothing. I watched this genius trio for a while, noticed that one of the dudes had a pretty good buzz on. He walked straight forward, eyes shaded like some kind of rock star. I'm sure if he walked in piles of steamy feces, he wouldn't have noticed.

In fact, not one single one of them noticed the balloons of feces hanging in the trees!

Hah.

By my figuring, that sojourn in the park probably cost taxpayers a hundred bucks for the non-work, plus gas. The guy with the pickup truck who the city fired probably would have come and emptied two bins for fifty bucks.

This is so typical of city crews.

Do you ever notice that it takes three of them to plant one tree? One to drive the truck. One to dig the hole. One to put the tree in. Plus one supervisor to make sure the tree was planted correctly.

Please Diane Deans give us back our bin. Hire back the poor guy with the truck who used to clean the park. Put the city crew back to work greening the capital one tree at a time.

Do this, and we'll vote for you in the next election.

Promise.

-- Rose Simpson




See also: Ottawa Pets Guide
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8 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:16 PM

    Perhaps there should be a warming facility along the way for the cold winter, vet service and pet massages half way through the onerous walks...all paid for by the rest of us who don't have dogs! I am totally surprised there isn't a Starbucks or at least a Timmies to facilitate your "walkies" and perhaps a Yoga place, too!

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous8:59 PM

      Hear hear, i say. Does having to carry your dogs feces five km, take away the experience of owning a dog in the the city of Ottawa? When you adopted Fifi/Fido you knew stooping N scooping were part of the deal. If you find it too inconvenient to carry a smelly bag of your dog's feces out to the GIANT HEAD, let it pinch one out in your own backyard before heading off to playtime.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:58 PM

      Lets take your argument and spin it around to a different angle.

      Many people, including myself, do not have any children nor plan to. And yet, my tax dollars are paying for the regular maintenance and upkeep of numerous children's parks just as much as yours are being used for that of the comparably tiny amount of off-leash dog parks. Ditto for city-ran daycare and schools.

      Just as dog owners know what they're getting into, so do parents. So why should my money go towards funding services and parks for children?

      Move along, dog haters.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:51 AM

      But isn't there a city by-law that requires dog waste to be disposed of in the owner's home and not in street/park waste receptacles?

      http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/animals-and-pets/dogs/5-reasons-why-you-should-stoop-and-scoop

      Delete
  2. Anonymous10:58 AM

    This isn't a pro anti dog story, simply whether or not the CHANGES to the garbage/dogshit situation is better or worse. Clearly the people who are decorating the trees are frigging lazy douchebags, but why reduce the number of garbages at all,

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  3. The giant head looks a lot like the Algonquin Park garbage system, where the whole thing is pulled out and swapped with a crane.

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  4. Why does the City of Ottawa veer wildly between utter neglect and reinventing the wheel when it comes to off-leash dog parks? Why can't they figure out that the needs of those of us with dogs requiring exercise are really very simple? Here they are in a nutshell: 1. A space big enough for a person to operate a 'Chuck-It' so that a dog of any size can run for that ball and bring it back (assuming that we might use a 'Chuck-It' because we aren't pro football quarterbacks).
    2. That said space be FENCED (so that my ordinarily well-behaved dogs don't run halfway across the country when they see--or smell--that free-ranging squirrel or rabbit).
    3. That said space have some sort of modest receptacle for the collection of dog poo (OR--as I have seen in Toronto--a "Dog Comfort Station"--which is simply a pile of sand surrounded by a small picket fence with a gate, approx. 10-15 ft. square...great idea, as the poo doesn't need to be collected; it simply decomposes over a period of time.)
    There it is...just 3 little things--not so very much to ask, hm?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous9:25 AM

    Well we got a second bin back at Conroy pit. Still bolted shut, not made handicap accessible yet and also one of those bins that require the garbage truck with the fork lift to empty.. wonder how that will do getting out there on the quasi muddy road/path that is there. should be a laugh in the spring.

    ReplyDelete

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