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Dog Off-Leash Recreation Areas

Dog Off-Leash Recreation areas (DOLRAs) are areas set aside for residents to exercise and socialize their dogs off-leash in a protected environment, without being in contravention of municipal by-laws.

Barrie currently has two DOLRAs. The City is assessing sites for potential additional sites. As details become available they will be included on this webpage.

BMC DOLRA
555 Bayview Drive

Secure Fenced Areas
The BMC DOLRA offers two separate, fenced areas: one for small dogs up to a maximum weight limit of 30 pounds (.25 acres); the other for all dogs, regardless of size/weight (1.8 acres).

Unsecured Natural Area
Dogs are also permitted off-leash in the natural area beyond the pens. Perimeter fencing is installed but the area is not secure due to gaps under the fence line (as a result of uneven terrain), overland waterflows, and movements of small animals. Owners are advised to choose appropriately for their dog.

Parking
The closest parking lot to the area's walk-in entrance is the north BMC lot, but alternate parking is available in the south-east parking lot when the north lot is closed for BMC events (refer to site map). When possible, the City communicates closure of the north lot via Facebook and Twitter.

Sunnidale Park DOLRA
227 Sunnidale Road

NOTICE: The Sunnidale Park Dog Off-Leash Recreation Area (DOLRA) will be closed starting September 3, 2019 until late spring/early summer 2020.  

The Sunnidale Park DOLRA is located in a natural, rolling setting with earthen footpaths and is NOT wheelchair accessible. The DOLRA is double-gated with 4' high wire mesh fencing. Parking is available at the Dorian Parker Centre or along Sunnidale Road. The total off-leash area is 2.89 hectares (7.15 acres) in size.

The closure is required for two reasons:
  • Construction of two new bridges and a new trail to allow access across Kidd’s Creek. This work is anticipated to take six months.
  • Following the construction work, the trail will open, but the DOLRA will remain closed to allow for regeneration and restoration of the site. Since the DOLRA has opened the site has become quite popular. The popularity of the site has taken a toll on the soils and vegetation. This closure will allow vegetation in the dog park to regenerate and will give the area a rest period.

Project Updates

October 28, 2019  

  • The construction of the new trail and the two bridges is now complete. The access from Coulter Street has been moved approximately 50m west of the parking lot. The Dog Off Leash Park remains closed.

September 20, 2019

  • The construction of two new bridges along the trail that leads to the Sunnidale DOLRA is underway. Once the bridges are complete a new trail will be built. This work is expected to be completed by the end of October, 2019 and the trails in the area will be reopened.
Sunnidale DOLRA closure: Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the closure happening?

The Sunnidale Park Master Plan (approved by Council in 2009) recognized the need for the periodic closure of the Sunnidale DOLRA, and rotating closures of other DOLRAs within the City. This was done so that sites can have a restoration and repair period, which is vital to the health of these park areas for optimal future use.

What bridge work is being done and why?

The bridge that was installed off the Coulter Street access point is temporary. The temporary bridge is being removed, and we are building two new, permanent bridges and a new trail to allow access across Kidd’s Creek. The first bridge (Bridge #1) is to address slip and fall concerns in the area, especially in the winter when the slope is icy. The second bridge (Bridge #2) is being constructed so that City maintenance vehicles can access Sunnidale Park to do sewer work. The bridge work is anticipated to take approximately three months.

Why does the dog park need to close? The vegetation looks fine to me.

The popularity of the Sunnidale site for dog owners was much higher than expected, which has taken a toll on the soil at the park. The site needs to close to allow for a rest period, soil and water testing, and park maintenance. As well, dog waste is a pollutant, so the potential for water contamination needs to be examined since there is a creek nearby.

What about closing part of the dog park, then another part, so it doesn’t have to be fully closed?

Partial closures were considered by staff, but it’s not feasible because of amount of work required for the ecological repair and related works throughout the park (for example: seeding, planting and allow the fall/spring for establishment of seed and plant material). A partial closure could also do additional damage since more activity would occur in a concentrated area, and would likely necessitate a significantly longer delay of the full reopening of the DOLRA. The full closure was deemed to be the most efficient way to properly rehabilitate the park for long term public use.

Why has there been a delay in closing the park? I thought it was supposed to close in July?

The city is working with the contractor and incorporating some of their operational requirements. We have also heard the concerns of some residents who are regular users of the Sunnidale DOLRA and want to accommodate their needs, so the closure is planned to start on September 3, 2019 to allow the park to remain open during the summer months. It’s still expected that the site will be closed until late spring or early summer 2020.

What alternatives are there for dog-friendly places in Barrie?

There is another dog off-leash park located near the Barrie Molson Centre at 555 Bayview Dr. This park offers two separate, fenced areas: one for small dogs up to a maximum weight limit of 30 pounds; the other for all dogs, regardless of size/weight. Dogs are also permitted off-leash in the natural area beyond the pens at the Barrie Molson Centre dog park. Owners are advised to choose appropriately for their dog. For more information on the Barrie Molson Centre DOLRA, see below. The city also offers many opportunities for on-leash dog walking on City trails and in parks, and Council also recently approved a by-law update to allow dogs in all waterfront parks while on leash (excluding beach areas).


 

Caution: Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy is a naturally occurring plant in the natural areas in Barrie. It is found in both off-leash areas. Learn to recognize poison ivy and avoid it by staying on existing trails. The City uses herbicides to remove poison ivy and signs are posted to warn residents when spraying occurs.

User Guidelines

  1. These are not supervised facilities. People and dogs visiting the DOLRA do so at their own risk.
  2. Owners will be held liable for all actions of their dogs.
  3. Dogs must be leashed when entering and exiting the off-leash areas.
  4. Owners must be present, with a leash for each dog, and in view of their dog(s) at all times.
  5. Aggressive dogs are not permitted in the off-leash area. Owners will be prosecuted and are liable for all damages and injuries subject to the provisions of the Dog Owners' Liability Act.
  6. All dogs must be wearing current registration tags and have up-to-date rabies vaccination. 
  7. Dog feces must be picked up and disposed of by the owner in the receptacles provided.
  8. No more than two dogs per owner within the DOLRA area. 
  9. Unattended dogs that are tied up outside the DOLRA are not permitted.
  10. No people-food, breakables, spiked or chain link collars permitted in the off-leash area.
  11. All dogs must be leashed outside of the DOLRA while in Sunnidale Park as per City of Barrie Animal Control By-Law.
  12. DOLRA not recommended for children under the age of 18.  The parent or guardian is advised to closely supervise their children at all times.
  13. This park is for the enjoyment of people and their canine pets. No other animals allowed.

Pit Bull Type Dog Owners

Pit-Bull-type dogs must be leashed and muzzled at all times pursuant to the amended Dog Owner's Liability Act. Leash-free areas are not exempt from the Act. Pit Bull owners are liable to fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to 6 months for contraventions. Report unmuzzled or unleashed Pit Bull Type Dogs to City of Barrie Enforcement Services at (705) 739-4241



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