Off-leash park opens in Milton

A photo of Jack Fancy Dog Park in Milton
Jack Fancy Dog Park in Milton. Photo: John Simmonds.
Ed Halverson - QCCR - LiverpoolNS | 18-08-2020

Dogs in Queens now have a place to play.

The Jack Fancy Dog Park and Community Trail officially opened last week.

Located in the former ball field behind the Milton Pool, the park offers a safe place for dog owners to let their pets run off-leash.

The opening brings to a close 18 months of work by the Queens Community Dog Park Association.

From initial meetings in early 2019, six founding members worked to raise the money to bring the park to life.

President John Simmonds says the group began approaching the community to purchase a membership to the proposed park, but the initial reaction wasn’t overwhelming.

“I mean it’s the old question, build it and they will come,” says Simmonds. “There was a lot of lukewarm interest, oh yeah, it’s a great idea, do it, and then I’ll come and check it out and see if I want to join, kind of thing. “

Simmonds says the group managed to raise the $18,000 necessary by selling charter memberships, holding a number of fundraisers, and grants received from the Region of Queens and Nova Scotia Trails which accounted for close to half of the cost.

Simmonds credits District 5 Councillor Jack Fancy with being the driving force behind getting the park built.

“Well apart from the fact that Jack was the originator of the idea of doing it, and got the organizing committee meeting together and acted as an advisor to the board throughout, he has probably spent, I have no idea what the number is, but dozens, possibly hundreds of hours actually mowing the lawns, cutting brush, grooming the trail. He has a lot of sweat equity in that thing,” says Simmonds.

He says the committee kept Fancy in the dark and surprised him with the name at the unveiling.

Fancy says he is honoured the committee thought enough of him to put his name on the park but insists it shouldn’t be named after a single person when so many worked so hard to make the park a reality.

“I want to make sure it’s always remembered as Queens Community Dog Park. That’s what it is,” says Fancy.

He is proud of the work the committee has done but jokes he can’t even show off the results.

“How can I bring friends over there to a dog park when I got my name on it?” asks Fancy.

The park occupies roughly three quarters of the original ball field and is divided into two sections: one for large dogs and another for smaller or mobility impaired dogs.

A locked, double-gate system ensures dogs don’t escape when another owner is trying to bring their pet into the park.

Simmonds says the committee along with a team of volunteers will maintain the park.

He says that’s part of the reason for making it members-only.

“That gives us greater control over who goes in and the things that take place in the park,” says Simmonds.

He says people can become a member for as little as $25 a year.

They already have 35 members and Simmonds hopes to see that number double by the end of the year.

Reported by Ed Halverson 
Twitter: @edwardhalverson