INFORMATION

Hello world! Please change me in Site Preferences -> This Category/Section -> Lower Description Bar

21

Jun 2017

WHY DOG OWNERS SHOULD CARE: WINDOG ASKS CITY COUNCIL TO IMPROVE DECISION AND POLICY-MAKING PROCESSES

Posted by / in INFORMATION / No comments yet

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Winnipeg Councillor Janice Lukes

Today St. Norbert Councillor Janice Lukes will introduce a motion at City Council that will improve access to information for  Councillors and  the general public, including off-leash area green space advocates like the Winnipeg Network of Dog Owner Groups.

If approved, Councillor Lukes’s motion will ensure that  City Councillors and the public have access to administrative reports at least four business days before they are discussed in committee meetings. The existing bylaw states that agendas and reports should be available at least 96 hours before meetings but that time-frame often includes evenings and weekends when the public service is not available to answer questions about the reports they have prepared.

The amendment, seconded by Elmwood – East Kildonan Councillor Jason Schreyer,  will give Councillors more time to read the reports, and allow them to make more well-informed decisions. It will also allow the public to be more involved in decision-making processes.

WINNIPEG Network of Dog Owner Groups fully endorses Councillor Lukes’s motion. WINDOG’s  submission to City Council supporting the amendment to Section 10(3) of Procedure By-law No. 50/2007 reads as follows:

The Winnipeg Network of Dog Owners Groups wishes to speak in support of Councillor Janice Lukes’s motion to amend Section 10(3) of the Procedure By-law No. 50/2007 to change the timeframe for posting agendas and distributing supporting material for committee meetings from a minimum of 96 hours to a minimum of 4 business days.

The change will provide Council members a more reasonable amount of time to review and reflect on administrative reports, seek clarity from the public service, and provide thoughtful, meaningful input into decision-making and policy creation.

From the perspective of a not-for-profit corporation, it will also allow the public to be more engaged regarding issues that matter to us by giving citizens more time to review documents and register to appear as delegations.

As a dog park activist who has attended her fair share of committee meetings, I have seen how the current 96-hour window works against public engagement and leads to poor decisions being taken at City Hall.

For example, on Thursday, May 8, 2014 the new guidelines for Winnipeg dog parks were released to the public – a mere four days, including a weekend – before the Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks met to approve them.

Of all the stakeholders who had an interest in the matter, only two – WINDOG  and the Winnipeg Humane Society – had the resources to review, digest and analyse the contents of the seventy-page document, develop submissions, and make last minute arrangements to appear as walk-in delegations before the Committee.

Both organizations spoke in opposition to the proposed guidelines, objecting to the complete lack of public consultation, identifying inaccurate assumptions, gaps in information, and other deficiencies. The guidelines failed to provide what was required – a framework for the creation,  management, and protection of the city’s off-leash dog parks.

Four days later – on Monday morning, May 12 – when the Standing Committee met, it was clear from the questions that the Councillors asked the Director of Public Works – and from Mr. Sacher’s responses – that most, if not all, had not had time to read the document. Nevertheless the Committee voted to approve the guidelines.

With the benefit of an extra week to review the report, the Executive Policy Committee reached the same conclusion as WINDOG and the Humane Society, noting that the guidelines were flawed, that the report didn’t go far enough to deal with the issues, and that the City had not done a good job in consulting with a broad cross-section of dog owners and other stakeholders.

Three years later and the off-leash dog park saga still is not over. The City paid approximately $20,000 for a report that it ultimately did not approve. Another $100,000 was allocated in this year’s budget for a comprehensive off-leash dog park master plan that will address the deficiencies in the 2014 guidelines. A consultant has been hired, stakeholder meetings have been held, and public consultations are scheduled to occur in the fall.

When the Off-Leash Dog Park Master Plan comes to Council for approval next winter, WINDOG hopes that today’s important by-law amendment will mean that the public will have sufficient time to review, digest and analyse it, and decide if they wish to provide feedback by appearing in delegation. For those that do, the amendment will go a long way in ensuring  they have sufficient time to take their questions to the public service, get the answers they seek,  and prepare their submissions.

WINDOG encourages City Council to support Councillor Luke’s motion. Our Board believes it will result in more informed decisions being made at City Hall and that it will save taxpayers money.

Respectfully,

Donna Henry

President – WINDOG Inc.

 

 

Please select the social network you want to share this page with:

08

May 2017

Announcing Public Consultations on New Winnipeg Off-Leash Dog Park Master Plan

Posted by / in INFORMATION / No comments yet

The City of Winnipeg wants to hear from its dog-loving citizens about the long-awaited off-leash area master plan.

 

The master plan will present a vision, criteria for determining how off-leash dog parks are selected,  an implementation strategy for dog parks, policies to address conflict and maintenance issues, and will identify potential partnership and funding opportunities.

On March 29, 2017 CTV News’ Beth Macdonnell reported that of nine major Canadian cities, Winnipeg has the second highest ratio of licensed dogs per person. It appears that City officials have finally gotten the message that almost 40% of Winnipeg homes have a resident dog – and they’re prepared to do something about it.

The City’s online portal inviting Winnipeggers to get involved acknowledges the growing interest and demand for off-leash dog parks and the corresponding need to expand the City’s off-leash recreational green space.

“In recent years, use of off-leash dog areas has significantly increased, and as a result, a need has been identified to increase the number of off-leash dog areas available to citizens. Based on number of park visits, it is estimated that off-leash dog areas may be one of the most popular activities in Winnipeg parks“,  adding that “off-leash dog parks build stronger community ties by fostering social opportunities for dogs and people.”

Public consultation will begin in June. Those interested will be able to provide feedback about current challenges, issues and opportunities for off-leash areas, shared parks, recreational spaces, seasonal sites, and underutilized locations through an online survey and mapping tool, and at pop-ups in parks across the city.

The project team will also be meeting with a wide variety of stakeholders: WINDOG, local dog park advocacy groups,  recreation groups, community members, and park users to gather additional information and knowledge.

For more information on how to get involved, follow the link.

winnipeg.ca/ppd/PublicEngagement/OffLeashAreas/default.stm#tab-engage

 

Please select the social network you want to share this page with:

06

Apr 2017

Councillor Lukes and King’s Park Dog Owners Explore Options for Off-leash Area Improvements

Posted by / in INFORMATION / No comments yet

The City of Winnipeg’s dog park master plan and new amenities for King’s Park’s off-leash area were all part of the conversation when St. Norbert Councillor, Janice Lukes met with King’s Park off-leash area dog owners last night. The Councillor called the meeting to discuss improvements to the dog park. On dog lovers’ wish list – fencing, trees, park benches, a community bulletin board, a drinking fountain and waste bag dispensers.

 

As a City Councillor, Lukes is well-known and respected for her commitment to public consultation. Last night’s meeting was yet another example of grassroots “community conversations” she’s held over the past two and a half years to keep in touch with her constituents’ concerns, issues, and wishes.

While Councillor Lukes jokes about being a “cat person”, there is no question that she is one of Winnipeg’s most dog-friendly City Councillors. In the absence of a local dog club with an effective membership communication system, she worked with WINDOG to connect with King’s Park dog owners and bring them together.

 

 

Before being elected to City Council, Janice was a well-known community activist and fundraiser, recognized for her advocacy for Winnipeg’s extensive network of active transportation walking and cycling trails. She regards parks and green spaces that support active lifestyles as natural extension of those priorities.

Today the Councillor tweeted, “Great insight from dog lovers on King’s Park Master Plan, Maple Grove & more! Love when I’m the one learning so much from community members!”

 

WINDOG recommended that King’s Park dog owners establish an off-leash area dog club to support park stewardship activities like clean-up events and actively raise funds for dog park improvements.  Should a group of dog park users express interest in creating a stewardship organization, WINDOG has offered its assistance.

Please select the social network you want to share this page with:

06

Mar 2017

Engaging the Public – Winnipeg’s Off-leash Dog Park Master Plan

Posted by / in INFORMATION / No comments yet

Work has begun on the city’s long-awaited off-leash dog park master plan (OLAMP).

The new plan, a first for Winnipeg, is expected to serve as a decision-making tool that will ensure off-leash areas are planned, designed and operated in a strategic and sustainable manner.

This morning the City’s OLAMP Project Manager, Rob Zanewich, told the Standing Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks that a contract has been awarded to MMM Group and planning has begun.  Zanewich expects the new plan will be ready this fall.

MMM Group is one of a handful of firms that have been involved in local off-leash dog park planning and design. In 2015 the company coordinated public consultations regarding the future of Charleswood Dog Park, which will be affected  by the William R. Clement Parkway extension. MMM is a recognized expert in community planning and infrastructure design, and a respected sustainability consultant.

To encourage public engagement the City is working on a new website with an online survey. Public consultations are expected to be held in May or June.

Please select the social network you want to share this page with: