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.
As a first time candidate I have not had the opportunity to serve the interest of dogs and dog owners on behalf of the ward of Old Kildonan (The O.K) nor the city. However, in my personal experience, I believe dogs are an extension of our families. I intend to work with Windog and the various canine organizations and families it represents. I believe working with Windog, landscapers and veterinarians together we can serve the interests of Winnipeg dogs.Q2: Does your ward have an off-leash dog park? If not, do you know why not?
The O.K does not have a dog park. I am not privy to the decision making from the previous or incumbent councillors. The perception is that there was no desire or will to make it happen.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.
If elected the next city councillor for The O.K, I will ensure the residents receive a dog park they can call their own. This will be achieved by implementing a number of potential strategies, such as:
- Converting vacant land into a dog park,
- Reassessing existing resources to repurpose underused parks that are neglected due to the other existing parks nearby,
- Short term and long term lease of land from developers for use during the pre-development phase of housing infrastructure programs,
- Short term and long term lease of unused farm land within the ward or municipalities in close proximity to The O.K
- Explore the possibility of leasing opportunities with other municipalities in close proximity to The O.K such as West St. Paul
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?
Our current city hall focuses on one segment of the population and fails to represent a broad range of citizens, which includes dog owners. The focus has been on expenditures and over priced solutions that have short-term success. While investing in public safety infrastructure is important it does not address the underlying cause of the problem. Developing a safe and nurturing community is essential to the well being of any citizen. Adequate funding sources should be made available to create more dog parks, as people would meet each other, know each other and look out for each other. A true community would develop, and help to eliminate the feeling of being unsafe in your own neighbourhood. More emphasis needs to be placed on family facilities in the designing and planning process of the next administration.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 support Windog’s model for dog parks. I agree that dogs deserve a space that is safe, well designed and accommodating to its users. Inclusion of all stakeholders, such as Windog in the development of new residential areas, analyzing the data collected by licensing branches of dogs in the city and using this data to determine opportunities’ and weaknesses are key to the implementation of a comprehensive dog park plan.Q6: What specifically should the City do to create off-leash recreational space in older, well-established neighbourhoods?
Proper utilization of the information that we have on dogs and their residences, gathering more data on distance travel behaviour and re-evaluation of existing redundant space will help determine areas that are under served for dogs and dog owners. Reimagining other shared space models in the city, to be tailored to a dogs needs, i.e. Assiniboia areas that after certain hours become used for cyclist only, parking lots that are dedicated to car clubs and motor groups. If it can be determined that certain neighbourhoods’/blocks have dogs at every residence what is stopping us from designating those green space areas as off leash dog parks during certain times of day or week.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.
The O.K currently does not have a dog park. The Little Mountain Dog Park although owned by the city of Winnipeg is located within the RM of Rosser and is the closest off leash facility that attempts to serve the needs of dog owners. This park is convoluted and at times poses serious threats to the health and safety for its animal users. If elected as your next councillor for The O.K, I will ensure the following items at Little Mountain Dog Park remain a priority;
- Regular scheduled maintenance & trail grooming
- Install proper trash collecting receptacles
- Adequate hydration stations
- More benches and shaded areas
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?
Bring awareness of the benefits that having dog parks can attribute to the cities bottom line. Drawing a comparison to the rate of reduced crime and reduces need for city social services (i.e. police presence) when neighbourhoods’ are close and community orientated.