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

Diane Crocker
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Ken Spence poses near a pothole on Goose Arm Road in Deer Lake.

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

Geographic location: Deer Lake, Schwartz Park, Deer Lake.He

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Recent comments

  • Outsider
    August 21, 2014 - 22:58

    Maybe a "dog" park makes sense ken since if you judged a book by its cover it looks as though this poor town is going to the's what I see. You Drive into town which looks like it has most services, but once your here it's just The few other establishments remaining offer building supplies which I geuss comes in handy, a bridal shop which is ok I geuss, insurance and realtors ofcourse, a culture store if your into the artsy thing, two grocery stores that are forever packed, a couple salons where everyone seems to get the same hair cut, a dealership with twenty something vehicles, about ten churches, two pharmacies, one very small outdated clinic, a home hardware that sells those awesome dirt bikes that fly through main st all day long with no mufflers and a riffs store that is outdated and over priced...a gym where your a$$ faces the world to see when your already there because of your insecurities and there's shady people outside the bars on the main street wasted because of the new smoking ban laws and all the food is your fast food type stuff. There's no theatre...barely no beach left cause they let people buy it and build on curb tidiness...not much class...compared to places like pasadena why would tourists or new people coming to newfoundland want to be in deer lake?

  • Cullen
    August 21, 2014 - 19:15

    The worst thing that a lot of people do not see is the money that is now in deer lake. I myself am not from deer lake but my wife and kids are. Over the last 7 years that we have been home. Nothing!! Has really been done in deer lake. Now I work away and I know the price of homes and all the people moving to deer lake to get closer tithe airport. I would like to ask the town of deer lake where that money all goes because you have not done a thing to that town! The people of deer lake have to stand up to he council and the mayor mr dean ball who by the way only helps himself and if it don't Bennifit him well forget it. We need a mayor that wants to see the town he or she loves to grow and change and updated. Dean ball you have lived in this town for longer than I know. This question is for you. Why are you letting beautiful deer lake fall apart? Time to make some changes and give deer lake and the people of deer lake what they deserve. A beautiful place to live.

  • newfie traveler
    August 20, 2014 - 14:05

    I too have lost tires and balances and alignments to Deer Lake/Newfoundland family as well and this sure can be costly as a surprise expense for someone who uses the car frequently for commute to work or just leisure travel. I don't want to pay additional bills on top of paying my taxes and the bills I already one does, I've discussed this many a time as I travel the states often and see many tolls they have throughout so their tourists can pay for the beautiful roads they have in many places. In conclusion if newfoundland can't handle these costs themselves maybe putting some toll booths throughout the main highways entrances and exits within the province can help lift the burden of the much needed road repairs...after all this can effect the economy greatly if tourists decide the roads are not worth the hassle to see this beautiful island.

  • Heidi
    August 20, 2014 - 06:40

    You thinks the roads are bad in Deerlake and Corner Brook. Why don't you leave your humble town/city and visit the outports. You'll soon stop your complaining about a few potholes and some cracked up pavement. Try driving 1 hour over "rough" road. You got to drive like your drunk when your not to avoid losing the front end of your vechile. And I don't just mean cars! Ps, consider yourselves blessed you have sidewalks. Some places don't even have a shoulder on the roads.

    • Ken
      August 20, 2014 - 07:33

      I never said the problem was exclusive to Deer Lake, Heidi. But I can assure you its more than just a few potholes and some cracked up pavement in both Deer Lake & Corner Brook. I'm not going to argue who's roads are subjectively worse, because that doesn't get around to actually fixing the problem. It is more beneficial to agree that Newfoundlander's in general deserve better roads, all across the province.

  • taxpayer
    August 19, 2014 - 15:19

    I realize that a dog park wouldn't break the bank,but come on.Deer Lake roads are an absolute disgrace.I would much rather my tax money go into fixing up the roads and cleaning up the town.Home owners in Deer Lake take pride in their properties.Its time the town fixed up the roads and sidewalks.Just recently they were going to ban dirt bikes in the town.Pretty soon its going to be the only way to navigate on our roads.

  • Robert
    August 19, 2014 - 13:53

    Although I don't disagree that roads should come first I think people under estimate the value of dog parks. We naturally tend to assume that dog parks are primarily for the benefit of dogs, but studies have proven that dog parks offer just as many benefits to humans as they do to dogs such socialization with other people at the park, exercise and other benefits. It's also easy for someone to play the tax game saying that not everyone has pets. This is true, not everyone does have pets but also not everyone has children and they build parks for children. Then you could argue that children stimulate the economy but according to stats Canada I spend just as much on my pet as most Canadians spend on a child. How is that not stimulating?

    • Callingyouout
      August 21, 2014 - 19:49

      "according to stats Canada I spend just as much on my pet as most Canadians spend on a child." Ive read some stupid things in my time on the internet but this comment sets some kind of record...

    • Robert
      August 26, 2014 - 08:20

      @Callingyouout You should really consider how stupid your own post is before you call someone else stupid. Look up the stats as to what an average child costs to raise in Canada. I believe in 2011 it was close to $13,000 on average per year until the child is 18 years old. With food, vet bills, training, kenneling, doggy day care, toys, etc I spend over $12,000 a year on my dog. I know numinous people like myself who spend this kind of money on their animals because they are family to them. Not once in my post did I say everyone spends this amount on their dogs. I said "MY PET". I guarantee you not everyone spends the $13,000 on their children either. Troll somewhere else.

  • Glenda Wall
    Glenda Wall
    August 19, 2014 - 09:12

    I know what you mean. In Corner Brook the Mayor and Council have determined that a dog park is required for our town and paid for by many taxpayers whom have no pets. Even with the road work completed in the primary driving areas of Corner Brook the city has neglected neighborhoods with its many pot holes and decaying curbs and gutters. Dog parks for the few are a want not a need. It is likely that dog parks are proposed by towns to take the pressure off the important issues not being completed in our towns, as who can get angry over our furry freinds whose needs are not being met. I leave you with this important question. Do we need roads and infrastructure or dog parks? You decide.

  • Joe The Dummer
    August 19, 2014 - 08:47

    So there's a photo of a man wearing a shirt that looks like it says pothole, standing next to what appears to be a small puddle. Dude - people in Corner Brook would kill to have a road like that. Go play in the dog park and lighten up!

    • Deer Laker
      August 25, 2014 - 10:47

      Joe, he also had to go to the very end of Goose Arm Road to find one "pothole." This area doesn't have a high level of traffic compared to other parts of town. Kenny, maybe you should have gone on Nicholsville Road or High Street to find a bigger/better pothole.

    • Deer Laker
      August 25, 2014 - 10:48

      Joe, he also had to go to the very end of Goose Arm Road to find one "pothole." This area doesn't have a high level of traffic compared to other parts of town. Kenny, maybe you should have gone on Nicholsville Road or High Street to find a bigger/better pothole.

  • terry janes
    August 19, 2014 - 06:52

    Way to go Kenny, roads, sidewalks and heaven forbid painted lines. walking the streets of deer lake is not as pleasant as it should be. Driving is less pleasurable. Use tax revenue on the basic infrastructure and preventative maintenance FIRST. Keep our residents safe... fix Chapel Hill Intersection.

    • Kenny
      August 19, 2014 - 14:55

      @Joe in my defense I am a rather large guy. The photo really doesn't do it justice.

    • paul
      August 20, 2014 - 22:43

      good to see someone stand up for what they believe in because most just don't have the guts to , keep it up Ken we need more people like you.