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May 2017

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

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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.


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Apr 2017

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

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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.

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Mar 2017

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

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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.

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Jan 2017

City Moves Forward on Off-leash Dog Park Master Plan

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City Moves Forward with Off-leash Area Master Plan



As dog lovers get ready to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the creation of Winnipeg’s first off-leash dog parks in 2018, they are also celebrating the fact that, after all these years, the City will finally have a framework for managing its off-leash area recreational greenspace. The long-awaited off-leash area master plan (OLAMP) will be presented to City Council this fall.

happy dance


The plan, first proposed by Parks and Open Space five years ago, has been a long time coming. Yesterday WINDOG’s President, Donna Henry, questioned a committee of City Council about the status of the project.  Parks and Open Space Manager, Dave Domke informed the Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks that a consulting proposal has been received and work on the plan is expected to begin in February.



Winnipeg’s dog community had great expectations that a meaningful management plan would be produced in a timely way. But over the years there have been a number of set-backs that have delayed the project. In 2012 the City issued a contract for development of what many in the dog park community have referred to as “dog park plan lite”, a simplified version consisting only of non-binding guidelines.

what you need to know


The guidelines were released to the public in 2014; however they were never officially adopted by the City. Council’s Executive Policy Committee (EPC) agreed with WINDOG that the guidelines were seriously flawed and declined to approve them. Instead, EPC identified a need for a full-fledged comprehensive plan that would address the concerns WINDOG had raised about the original guidelines. Last March City Council approved $100,000 for the plan.

The new plan will include a vision, goals, and objectives for Winnipeg’s off leash dog parks and will identify options for funding, and standards for servicing them.

Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks Councillors Mike Pagyakhan (Chair), Russ Wyatt, John Orlikow, and Ross Eadie will oversee development of the plan. Councillors have noted that dog parks have been a sensitive issue and the public needs to be consulted, a concern shared by WINDOG.

People are passionate about dogs both ways. Dog lovers love them, others don’t love them so much;  the challenge is to make sure both sides are heard through a public consultation process and their concerns are taken into consideration.

Addressing WINDOG’s concern that the public had no opportunity to provide input into the 2014 guidelines, this year will see a broad range of consultation activities including meetings with stakeholders (including all off-leash dog park stewardship groups and the Winnipeg Humane Society), open houses, a web survey to solicit views on dog parks, and newsletters.



Why is an Off-Leash Dog Park Master Plan Important?

In the absence of a city-wide framework for off-leash area management, there is no consistency in how the city’s dog parks are being managed.

  • The City has ruled that there will be no expansion to Little Mountain Dog Park, and no new dog parks in Point Douglas, Mynarski, or Old Kildonan, wards where none exist, until the master plan is in place.

  • During the winter, the City has asked Little Mountain Park Dog Club volunteers to empty dog waste litter baskets  – a violation of health and safety legislation – or do without them. In contrast,  the high-quality, high capacity underground waste bins at Kilcona and Maple Grove are emptied by City employees.

  • Sturgeon and Silver Dog Park has been  “temporarily” closed for the past year and a half.

2016 Dog Park Closures

Meanwhile, the City continues to  fund dog park projects in other parts of the city: planning and public consultations on re-configuring Charleswood and Brenda Leipsic dog parks, and installing fencing around King’s Park off-leash area. In the midst of the moratorium, Council has selectively approved the creation of two new dog parks:

  • Bonnycastle Dog Park (downtown) opens in 2017.

  • Devonshire Dog Park (Transcona) opens in 2017.

Winnipeg’s off-leash area stewardship groups are key stakeholders in the planning process. WINDOG looks forward to participating in the conversation that will shape the future of our city’s dog parks and make off-leash recreational green space accessible to all Winnipeggers.

dog parks poster

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