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Westwood Park (Ottawa) Designation

Tomorrow is the last day to get your comments to Simon Belanger-Hebert.  You can email him at this address:  Simon.Belanger-Hebert@ottawa.ca  (it would probably also make sense to CC the local counciller-Mark Taylor (mark.taylor@ottawa.ca)

I have been at Westwood Park twice this weekend.  Once during the Ottawa Royals end of year tournament with my kids (the Ottawa Royals are heavy users of the park–I don’t believe they have complained about the current designation).  And then today with my dog and two children–thinking about how they’ve never been threatened by a dog here. 

I truly believe it would be a shame to change this designation for this park, especially when there are so many parks that have “no dogs” desgnations nearby.  Very close Woodroffe park has all the swing-sets and playstructures you could ever want for children.

Anyhow, here is the letter that we wrote to Simon (including a link to the Ottawa dog-in-park designation policy).  I hope that other dog-lovers take the time to write Simon a letter of support for keeping the park designation the same.

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We have both a dog and two children and use the park frequently; and at no time, have we experienced any negative incidences.  When we first heard about the petition to change the status of the park, we did a little bit of investigating into how these designations are assigned.  Based on the  Dogs-In-Parks Designation Policy ( http://ottawa.ca/en/rec_culture/park_facility/parks/dogs/dogs_policy/index.htm  ), we are even more convinced that Westwood Park should remain an off-leash park.  There are no play structures or wading/splash pads for children, it is not beside schools or community centres, it doesn’t have picnic tables, nor does it have any lighted sports fields.  It does provide a reasonable space for dog owners to exercise their dogs, and is very well used by dog owners, particular in the early morning hours or after work (if there are no sports events taking place – there is an unlit baseball field and the grassed area is used for little league soccer).  

Nicola Crawhill makes the allegation that children are frightened of being in Westwood Park – we strongly doubt this, as we have seen families with children in the park exercising their dogs. If there are not an over-abundance of children at the park, it is likely due to the fact that there are more suitable parks for children to play in (which are only a few blocks from Westwood Park), including Woodroffe Park, McKellar Park and Tillbury Park.  Each of these parks has a dogs-on-leash or no dogs allowed policy.   A community needs to provide spaces for all types of people to enjoy, and our community has many parks designed for children to play in – if the status of Westwood park is changed, our community will have no place for local residents to exercise their dogs off leash.

Further, the fact that some dogs have run into the backyards of people living adjacent to the park is in no way a good policy reason to change the designation of the park. They should invest in a fence if this presents a problem. But we highly doubt again, that this is a serious problem that would require a change in the park’s designation to on-leash.     We urge the City to do some evidence gathering – look at who uses the park consider whether an off-leash park presents any danger to the safety of residents. We think you’ll find, as we have in the past six years, that people and dogs can co-exist quite happily. The park is already a wonderful part of our community, as are the other parks in the neighbourhood, all of which can accommodate children. Please let us continue to enjoy this park with our dog and our two children.

Westwood Park (Ottawa) Off-leash Status

Hello,

Just wanted to bring attention to a much beloved off-leash dog park in Ottawa’s west end.

Some immediate neighbours to the park think that this should no longer be an off-leash park.  I believe it is a little bit of “NIMBY”ism, but I think a wrong stance none the less.

Here is more information from the online petition that is found here:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/support-for-westwood-park-sherbourne-as-an-off/

The current way to get involved in the process is to email City of Ottawa employee Simon Belanger before August 20th!  Here is his email address:  simon.belanger-hebert@ottawa.ca

 

Westwood Park (Ottawa) Off-leash Status

Hello,

Just wanted to bring attention to a much beloved off-leash dog park in Ottawa’s west end.

Some immediate neighbours to the park think that this should no longer be an off-leash park.  I believe it is a little bit of “NIMBY”ism, but I think a wrong stance none the less.

Here is more information from the online petition that is found here:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/support-for-westwood-park-sherbourne-as-an-off/

The current way to get involved in the process is to email City of Ottawa employee Simon Belanger before August 20th!  Here is his email address:  simon.belanger-hebert@ottawa.ca

 

On Vancouver

It really is a shame what happened last night in Vancouver–I truly believe it was the work of a small minority, taking advantage of the situation.  I personally believe we would have seen rioting and looting even if Vancouver won.  Here’s why:

I have always been a fan of the “street party”.  From my early high school days in South Western Ontario where small towns would shut down streets to let everyone roam around with (or without) drinks, to homecoming parties at Queen’s, to Canada Day here in Ottawa.  I’ve always thought that being outside with multitudes of people celebrating is a great way to spend a day/evening.  But more recently there seems to be people who are not there for the celebration, but are there for the chance to cause some damage. 

I’ve noticed this happening recently in Kingston. Incidents lead to Homecoming moving from the fall to a time during the summer session — when far less students are on campus.  Was it alumni coming back and ripping up the town for old time sakes?  No way, it was current students, Kingstonians, and many out of towners in for the party.

That’s why I think the riot would have happened whether they won or lost.  There were people in that huge crowd that were just there for the chance to go crazy.  Now I shouldn’t say that the negative vibe from losing wouldn’t have made things a bit more violent–that is a distinct possibility.  But I really do think the party was going to get out of control one way or another.

Now what to do about this.  Truthfully I’m not sure–this seems to happen more and more often with these major sports championships.  Perhaps a greater police presence?  Or should there be some more communication with the revellers before the game that night?  I’m not sure, but I do hope that the follow up actions that Vancouver is undertaking at least make people think before things get out of hand.  Unfortunately this has put the great city of Vancouver in a very poor light.

And just edited my post to add this–I do hope that the idea of the street party continues!  So many good (non-rioting) memories!

My Book List and Convergence

Even though I don’t get too much time to read I have started to get some time to read some books over the last few years.  I realize now that the kind of books that I have chosen are starting to help define my view of the world.  I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but there are probably worse methods of defining your world view (like, say, watching Jersey Shore–which I have been known to do…my shame).

But here’s a list of books that have changed how I view the world:

  • Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Blink – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond
  • The Omnivores’ Dilema – Michael Pollan
  • Zen, and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig
  • Management Rewired – Charles S. Jacobs
  • The Hiram Key – Christopher Knight

What I find interesting is there is some convergence through out all of these books.  In later posts I hope to explore how some of these seemingly unrelated books provide similar views on the world around us.

Ann Coulter in Ottawa

Again, I’m a little late on the ball, but definitely had to comment on Ann Coulter’s recent visit to Ottawa.  I am by no means a fan of Ann Coulter, but think that the University of Ottawa did themselves a disservice by sending the letter to warn her about her speech.   I believe this was a mistake.  The way to confront ideas that you don’t believe in is to engage in discussion and bring to light the problems with their ideas.  Not to stop them from talking at all.  Again–this letter was probably a mistake.

On the other side, I agree with letting the protesters also say what they want.  Free speech should be applied to both sides.

But now the damage is already done.  There is a lot of controversy about who actually had the final decision to cancel the show.  Whatever the case may be, Ann Coulter is now playing the role of the victim.  This martyrdom, along with all the extra press from this incident, will no doubt be used to her advantage.