Dog parks and roads: Deer Lake resident uses one to draw attention to the other

Diane Crocker dcrocker@thewesternstar.com
Published on August 19, 2014
Ken Spence poses near a pothole on Goose Arm Road in Deer Lake.
Submitted photo

Ken Spence doesn’t dispute that he’s dipped into absurdity to raise awareness for his cause.

He’s using the Town of Deer Lake’s plans to open a dog park to draw attention to the condition of the town’s roads.

“I’m a firm believer that overkill is underrated,” said Spence on Monday. “If we want to get something done, you know we kind of have to make this kind of noise, or else the status quo will remain the same.”

Spence has lived in Deer Lake all of his 26 years and said the situation with the dog park is like putting your wants before your needs.

“I’m not going to deny using it as a platform for a protest against the roads, but I still think that a dog park for a town like Deer Lake, which has so many back roads and things like the canal banks to walk a dog, it’s kind of an unnecessary venture as it is.”

Instead, Spence said the money should go to the roads, which he says look like “a patchwork quilt.”

He said the roads are not safe, with little in the way of sidewalks or curbs, and are filled with potholes.

Spence has even fallen victim to those potholes, losing two tires to one and missing four hours’ work as a result.

He had posted about the condition of the roads and the plan to put a dog park in Schwartz Park this fall on the town’s Facebook page, but says that post got deleted.

That inspired him to start his own page, The “Beautiful” Streets of Deer Lake, to raise awareness and hopefully get something done about the roads. In the week since launching, the page is up to 170 members.

The town has a meeting planned for 7 p.m. on Aug. 26 at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex to discuss the proposed rules for the dog park.

Spence is planning a protest to coincide with that meeting and has posted an open letter, which he’s also sent to council, on his Facebook page. He’s hoping the protest isn’t necessary and that his request to meet privately with council will be answered.

“I have nothing against dogs, nothing against their owners,” he said.  “If we had the money to build a park and we had good roads, go right ahead, you know, whatever in the pursuit of happiness.”

But Spence said roads are a basic service in a community and the needs are not being met in Deer Lake.

He’s also open to hearing from anyone who wants to come out in defence of the dog park.

Twitter: WS_DianeCrocker