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06

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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18

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

Telling-Tails-Pet-Food-Pet-Supplies-Chelmsford-Azilda-Off-Leash-Dog-Park-Banner-

 

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.

Hooray

 

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.

UNLEASH YOUR VOICE 1

 

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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20

Jul 2016

Work Begins on Transcona’s New Dog Park!

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Plans for Transcona’s new one-acre neighbourhood dog park were approved by the East-Kildonan  – Transcona Community Committee today.

Facebook1It’s the first dog park ever to be built in a new subdivision – a joint venture between the City of Winnipeg and Genstar, the developer of Devonshire Village. It’s also the first new dog park the City has created since Brenda Leipsic opened in 2008.

Landscaping and grading of Devonshire Dog Park will begin this summer.  Russ Wyatt, the city councillor who made it happen by making a dog park a requirement of Genstar’s application, says he’s excited that it’s finally happening.

The fully fenced, off-leash area was designed with the safety and comfort of all dogs and dog owners in mind. There’s an area for dogs over thirty pounds and a separate area for smaller dogs.

Both enclosures have a double-gated entry/exit system to ensure that dogs near the gates cannot escape as new visitors enter the park.  The system also allows people to safely leash and unleash their dogs when they enter or leave the enclosure.

Plans for the model dog park include some welcome amenities – a waste bag dispenser, a high-capacity underground waste bin, trees and benches.

Facebook2Devonshire Dog Park will officially open in 2017.

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15

Mar 2016

A Community Working Together for a North End Dog Park

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A Community Working Together for a North End Dog Park

 

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A beloved North Ender with no place to play

Photo credit: Nicole Joy

A group of North End dog lovers want the City to create a fenced off-leash dog park in their neighbourhood, a project organizers say will bring about real change for people and dogs that live in the area. WINDOG is there to support them.

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Photo credit: petMD

“Friends of a North End Dog Park” is asking the City to designate a patch of unused green space in the Old Exhibition Grounds near Dufferin and Sinclair. The site has served as an unofficial neighbourhood dog park for years but people who let their dogs off-leash risk hefty fines.

In the past three days, 150 people have signed the “Friends of a North End Dog Park” petition. 9 businesses and community organizations have lent their support by making the petition available for community residents to sign.

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Meet Me at the Bell Tower AYO event March 11, 2016

Supporters can sign the petition at the following locations:

  • Aboriginal Vision for the North End – 586 Selkirk Ave

  • Animal Hospital of Manitoba – 995 Main St.

  • Bird Shop & Aquarium – 1034 Main Street

  • Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre – 318 Anderson Ave

  • McPhillips Animal Hospital – 2211B McPhillips St.

  • North End Family Centre – 1344 Main Street

  • Pet Valu –  2136 McPhillips

  • Seven Oaks Veterinary Hospital – 1830 Main Street

  • YMCA – 363 McGregor (daytime only)

New sponsors are coming on board and locations can change so please check this site before you make a special trip to sign the petition.

Why a North End dog park?

Winnipeg Animal Services estimates there are about 112,000 dogs in the city. Many live in the North End.

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Supporter of a North End Dog Park, Minister of Jobs and the Economy and life-long North End resident, Kevin Chief with his family and Buddy

Photo credit: Winnipeg Free Press

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Photo credit: Jane Beauchamp, The Noble Hound

Nicole Joy, one of the organizers, says the neighbourhood has needed an off-leash dog park for a very long time. “We need a place where people can go to socialize their dogs properly, where dogs can be around other dogs and people. It’s hard to socialize your dog by walking it on-leash on the street”.

Joy points to a number of neighbourhood issues.

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Photo credit: Shepherd and Bengal

  1. There are no off-leash dog parks in Winnipeg’s North End and there are none within walking distance.

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Photo credit: Miriadna

  1. A high percentage of dog owners who live in the North End do not have vehicles and have no way to take their dogs to off-leash areas in the suburbs, where dog parks are located. The closest dog park is Woodsworth, near Selkirk Avenue and Route 90. Little Mountain and Kilcona are also popular off-leash areas, but all of these parks are out of reach for North End dog owners who don’t have vehicles.

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Photo credit: Miriadna

  1. Many North End dogs never leave their own yards. As a result, they are poorly socialized and under-exercised.

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Photo credit: Miriadna

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Photo credit: Miriadna

 Why are off-leash dog parks good for communities?

Everyone benefits from off-leash area dog parks.

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Photo credit: Kevin King, Winnipeg Sun

  • Dog parks reduce the number of dogs on streets, in parks and other public places, minimizing contact between dogs and people who don’t like or are afraid of dogs.

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Photo credit: Vince Pahkala Photography

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Photo credit: Vince Pakhala Photography

  • Off-leash dog parks foster good canine citizenship.

    • Dog parks are where dogs learn social skills.

    • A well-socialized dog is less apt to bite.

    • A well-socialized dog is less likely to be fearful or aggressive toward strangers.

    • A well-socialized dog doesn’t feel the need to display dominance with other dogs.

  • A tired dog’s a good dog!

    • Many undesirable dog behaviors are caused by a lack of physical and mental activity.

    • Dogs that exercise strenuously are better neighbours; less prone to excessive barking, destroying property, and biting.

  • Dog parks stimulate social interaction because dogs are great icebreakers. Dog parks help neighbours get to know each other, foster friendships and strengthen communities.

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Photo credit: Jeff Henry

  • Dog parks encourage healthy activities and reduce public health care costs. They help people lose weight, lower cholesterol, ease stress.

  • Dog parks provide a safe option for seniors and those who find it difficult to walk a dog on leash.

  • The presence of people and dogs has been shown to deter crime and vandalism in adjacent areas.

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Photo credit: EgoPet

Please show your support for a fully fenced off-leash dog park in Winnipeg’s North End!

You do not have to be a dog owner to benefit.

Happy days at the dog park!

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Photo credit: Kathy Frost

For more information check out “Friends of a North End Dog Park’s Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/WinnipegNorthEndDogPark/