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04

Oct 2014

WINNIPEG’S DISMAL RECORD – LAST PLACE IN PROVISION OF OFF-LEASH DOG PARKS

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 WINNIPEG’S DISMAL RECORD – LAST PLACE IN PROVISION OF OFF-LEASH DOG PARKS

tim johnson et al

From left to right, Thompson Mayor Tim Johnston, city recreation director John Burrows, dog park users Wendy Saric and Bo, Thompson Humane Society board chair Oswald Sawh and city animal control officer Craig Delaronde at the ribbon-cutting to mark the official grand opening of the Baffin Dog Park in the Burntwood area. Photo credit: Thompson Citizen/Ian Graham

With the opening of brand new dog parks in Portage la Prairie and Thompson, these Manitoba cities are leading the pack in terms of the provision of off-leash recreational green space. They’re well ahead of Winnipeg in the number of dog parks per capita, despite their smaller size.

Portage and Thomson have one dog park for every 13 thousand residents; Brandon has one for every 18 thousand residents while Winnipeg lags far behind with one off-leash area for every 66 thousand residents.

The newly created dog parks are the result of partnerships forged by the respective City Councils. On September 18, Thompson’s highly anticipated Baffin Dog Park became a reality as a result of a partnership between the City and the Thompson Humane Society. City Council voted to re-purpose an underused neighbourhood baseball diamond, transforming it into a well-used off-leash area.

The City of Thompson paid for landscaping associated with the re-purposing and installed fencing, benches, dog waste bag dispensers and bags. The City is responsible for garbage collection and ongoing maintenance of the publicly owned park. The Thompson Humane Society developed the off-leash policies, park rules and signage.

The Yellowquill Provincial Park Off-Leash Dog Park, located at Yellowquill Provincial Park along the TransCanada Hwy, is the result of a partnership between the Province of Manitoba, the City of Portage la Prairie and the Portage la Prairie Dog Park Committee.

Yellow Quill is a fully fenced 2.5 acre partially treed dog park. The Province supplies picnic tables, washrooms, and garbage bins are supplied. The City installed poop bag dispensers and will supply bags on an ongoing basis. The City is responsible for maintenance and garbage collection.

Community leaders in Thompson and Portage see the potential of the new dog parks to attract tourists. The Humane Society’s plans for Baffin Dog Park include agility events course and Frisbee competitions. “Bring Fido” – the online pet friendly travel expert is already marketing Yellowquill, “ Off the north service road along Hwy 1 at Yellow Quill Trail, across from pet friendly Days Inn and near pet friendly Super 8 motel, restaurants and box stores. Great rest stop for travellers.–45 minutes west of Winnipeg’s city limits.”

Community leaders in Thompson and Portage have also been quick to understand the important role off-leash area stewardship groups play in the management of off-leash recreational space. To ensure that the needs of dogs and their owners are taken into account and that any concerns are shared with the city, Thompson has established a dog park committee and Portage City Council Portage works with the Portage la Prairie Dog Park Committee.

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