Welland is known as the Rose City before all else. Recently the Rose City has been heralded as a retirement village, sports mecca, and ghost town depending on who is telling the story. I'd like to add one more notable future for Welland that is already in progress - Welland for the Dogs. There are thousands of dogs in the City of Welland, community leaders and businesses have plans to profit from the local love for dogs.
Canalside Dog Park at Lincoln Street
Touted by some as the largest Dog Park in Canada there are preliminary plans to host an expansive Dog Park at the intersection of Lincoln Street and the Welland Canal, across the Canal from the Welland Arena. The land, which is already serviced with electrical and sewage infrastructure, would be left as flat land with hundreds of meters of fence surrounding the canalside property.
The first time that the Welland Dog Park was presented was at a WRCC meeting with Barry Sharpe and other local leaders. They were eager to start the project after moving the park from its original planned location on the east bank of the Welland Canal.
Niagara Regional Police Dog Training Sites
Seems like every abandoned industrial property in Welland gets its chance to be a NRPS Dog Training Site. This would mean that the Niagara Regional Police are training their dogs in fields of broken glass, rubble, rust, and other very dangerous materials. Properties currently listed include the old Union Carbide, Welmet, Henniges, General Tire, and Atlas Specialty Steels properties. If we include all of those properties into the dog park plans originally mentioned then there is more property assigned to dogs than any individual business or resident in the City of Welland.
There is even the possibility that if those properties are safe enough for NRPS dogs that they should be opened for all dog owners, then the precious canalside property can be kept for the human residents and visitors to the City of Welland.
Where Dog Owners Already Travel
Welland already has an unorganized dog park between Thorold Road and Woodlawn on the West Bank of the Welland Canal. There isn't a single day that goes by that local residents aren't out there with their dogs, even throughout the Winter the draw remains. The park wasn't planned for this area due to a variety of reasons that never seem to stay the same, although it usually has something to do with the rowing facility or neighbours that take issue with its current use.
Since many of the dog owners that use the Thorold-Woodlawn Park are leaving behind dog waste the warmer months carry a scent along the Greater Niagara Circle Route - a world class cycling trail that passes through the park. The enforcement of local cleaning, littering, and dog licensing by-laws would help responsible dog owners to keep a better park. Repeat offenders should have their licences revoked, and those found without a license should have their homes inspected to see how many other unregistered animals that they're keeping in potentially dangerous conditions.
Niagara Ice Dogs - Future Home in Welland?
Niagara always deserved a great hockey team, and with a name like Niagara Ice Dogs - they should be right at home in the City of Welland canal-side arena. The arena that would be walking distance to the largest dog park in the nation.