Devi Sharma

Old Kildonan Ward

Devi Sharma

Candidate Old Kildonan

Dog Friendly

Q1: Please describe what you have done in the past to serve the interest of Winnipeg dogs and dog owners - either in your own ward or in the city.
Little Mountain Dog Park is not within a city ward but is closest to Old Kildonan. Together with St. Vital City Councillor Brian Mayes, who is Chair of the Mayor's Environmental Advisory Committee, we held a meeting in May 2014 for an open discussion with users of Little Mountain Dog Park. I was happy to meet with residents who came from all over Winnipeg to voice their concerns and ask questions about the park. I heard the passion that people have for their adored pets and it raised my awareness for the desire for more off-leash dog parks in Winnipeg. Through discussions at the meeting, it was determined that people want improvements to the current infrastructure over any major developments to the park. I seconded a motion with Councillor Mayes for the City administration to report back on the feasibility of extending operating hours of the washroom building and to report back on the water in the washroom building to ensure that it is safe to drink. City administration will report back in regards to extending the area that is off-leash. Only portions of the park are off-leash and dog owners are the heaviest users of the trail system during the winter months. Just a few weeks ago, I attended Winnipeg’s Fall Dog Fest and saw firsthand how much dogs and their owners enjoy open green space. It was an amazing event and I had the pleasure of meeting many park users.
Q2: Does your ward have an off-leash dog park? If not, do you know why not?
No, Old Kildonan does not currently have an off-leash park. Dog parks have traditionally been placed in undeveloped areas and Old Kildonan was not developed with dog parks in mind. During my first term on Council, I have had several opportunities to talk with constituents about their visions for Winnipeg. Old Kildonan constituents currently enjoy two regional dog parks: Little Mountain Park and Kilcona, however, I am now aware that dog owners want additional parks close to home.
Q3: If you are elected, will you increase the number of dog parks in your ward. If so how will you do that? If you have specific locations in mind, please identify them.
The Executive Policy Committee put forth a recommendation for further research in creating an Off Leash Dog Park Master Plan. The consultation that the City of Winnipeg is proposing is a very meaningful step towards the goal of increasing the number of off-leash dog parks. When the results are made available, I am looking forward to further discussions on a potential dog park in Old Kildonan.
Q4: Winnipeg lags behind many major Canadian cities in terms of the number and size of its off-leash areas, and level of service and amenities it offers dog park users. Why do you think this has happened? If elected, what would you do to change this?
Winnipeg has limited resources allocated towards park development and specifically dog parks. The road to change has already been initiated with conversations I have been involved in and with the proposed creation of the Off Leash Dog Park Master Plan. I am committed to staying involved as it is an important topic in Winnipeg.
Q5: Do you support WINDOG’s model for Winnipeg off-leash dog parks? Please provide reasons. If so, what will you do to implement it? If not, why not?
I await the outcome of the Off Leash Dog Park Master Plan. For the plan to proceed, funds need to be allocated for the study. When that happens, it would be valuable for WINDOG to participate in the consultative process. It is important that the users of the dog parks have an opportunity to share their perspective.
Q6: What specifically should the City do to create off-leash recreational space in older, well-established neighbourhoods?
The Master Plan will analyze the various recreational spaces in all neighbourhoods where a dog park would be suitable. As Old Kildonan is a well-established community, there are many considerations that need to be taken into account. I am open to hearing the recommendations brought forth in the Master Plan and continuing the discussions with WINDOG.
Q7: If you are elected, what specifically will you do to improve Winnipeg's existing off-leash areas? Please consider the park infrastructure, facilities, and type and level of service the city offers and give examples.
Working with Little Mountain Dog Park, I will continue to advocate for safe drinking water and extended hours of the washroom facilities. Regular scheduled pick up of garbage, waste, and recycling is significant as is improved lighting for safety. I support an off-leash extension to the trails and will advocate for groomed trails in the winter.
Q8: Winnipeg dog owners have been losing what little off-leash space they have, as it’s repurposed for other recreational users and for municipal profit through the sale and rental of off-leash space. If elected, what would you do to change this?
Having the Master Plan in place will help to add policy and ensure dog parks are protected in the future. A clean, safe, and friendly place where owners and their dogs can socialize and exercise is important. I believe in preserving and enhancing the green space for everyone in Winnipeg, including for dogs who are cherished members of the family.
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