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Sep 2014

Who’s Dog Friendly and Who’s in the Dog House!

Posted by / in INFORMATION / 2 comments


your vote counts

Winnipeg’s off-leash dog park advocacy coalition has taken another step forward with its campaign to elect a dog-friendly mayor and city council on October 22. WINDOG has released the results of its “I own a dog AND I vote!” outlining candidates’ vision for improving Winnipeg’s off-leash recreational green space and highlighting their track records.

Top dogs are mayoral candidate, Brian Bowman, North Kildonan Councillor Jeff Browaty, and St. Charles Councillor, Grant Nordman. Each was awarded “super dog-friendly” status – Bowman and Nordman for their innovative thinking and bold plans to create two new off-leash dog parks if elected, and Browaty for his commitment to identify locations in North Kildonan and Transcona that can be re-purposed as neighbourhood off-leash dog parks.

WINDOG also awarded seventeen Council candidates and mayoral candidate, David Sanders “dog-friendly” status.

At the other end of the spectrum, five of the seven mayoral candidates are in the dog house. Four candidates consider off-leash dog parks such a low priority that they didn’t bother responding to the survey.

The candidate with the worst track record is Gord Steeves who served as St. Vital’s City Councillor in 2006 when two-thirds of Maple Grove’s 34 hectare off-leash dog park was hived off to create new athletic fields. A month before the 2006 municipal election, Steeves attended Manitoba Organization of Disc Sports’ ground breaking ceremony at Maple Grove Park to announce that the City had awarded the group a $63,000 grant to develop ultimate Frisbee playing fields, paving the way for the province to kick in an additional $43,000.

Maple Grove dog owners were left with 12 hectares of unimproved off-leash space – much of it in the less desirable lowlands along the Red River that flood for several weeks each spring and are a sea of mud for even longer.

All “dog friendlies” have expressed their support for WINDOG’s proposed off-leash area model – a three-tiered system of neighbourhood, community and regional dog parks – each tier increasing in the size of the space, level of service and amenities. (See August 23 news story for details of the model.)

Check out the candidates’ responses to the survey  by clicking on Election 2014 and follow the links.

By voting for dog friendly candidates on October 22. Winnipeg dog owners can do what Vancouver did in 2008. Fed up with too few off-leash parks, with poor services and amenities, dog owners launched their own “I own a dog AND i VOTE!” campaign. They elected a dog friendly Mayor and Council and replaced all the “dog-unfriendly” Parks Board Commissioners with individuals who supported off-leash dog parks. Today Vancouver a much pleasanter place for dogs and dog owners, with an abundance of high quality dog parks conveniently located throughout the city. Vancouver is considered a leader in off-leash area management.

At least 40% of Winnipeg households have a dog.  That’s a an awful lot of votes.

Dog lovers can make a difference!

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  • Sally Hull

    October 7, 2014, pm31 8:36 PM

    Back when I lived in Winnipeg and used the Maple Grove Dog Park a lot, City Councillor Gord Steeves ripped away a huge portion of the park from dog owners. I tried very hard to fight this, and tried to get dog owners to help. What ended up happening is that the woman who at the time was the only member of “Maple Grove Dog Park Association” and didn’t even USE the park (her dog was too aggressive) came out with her little info table, and assured everyone there that I was lying, and that the park would not be taken away. She told them that the city had PROMISED that the dog owners could share the frisbee fields, which was the best part of the park. She also said that agility equipment, a proper watering facility and a porta potty would be given to the dog walkers. Of course, as we know, this was all lies. There is no watering facility, there is no sharing of the fields which are barely ever used, there is no porta potty and no agility equipment. They received $100,000 in grants to get the fields all nice for the Frisbee groups, and dog owners got their park slashed to a third, and a crappy parking place. During the time I tried to fight for the park, my emails to Gord Steeves were met with hostility and rude responses. I sent him photos of the remaining area of the park they had left for dog walkers, with the equipment shed up to roof in flood water. The last response from Gord Steeves was to tell me “if you don’t keep quiet, you will lose the rest of the park.”
    Dog Walkers, your voices need to be heard. For many people, walking their dogs at off leash parks is the only exercise they get, and they enjoy it. Make your vote count.
    Sally Hull

  • Traysea

    November 1, 2014, pm30 2:30 PM

    I don’t know where you are you getting your information but I live in Vancouver and dog owners didn’t get a dog friendly mayor and council in the 2008 election. We got vision vancouver who are dog nazi’s and the worse political party this city has ever seen. They have done nothing for dog owners but harass us, illegally ticket us, violate our privacy rights, use our personal information ffor purposes it was not intended such as to persecute us . They have stolen $400,000.00 of taxpayers money that was voted by the taxpayers to go to creating more off leash dog areas and refuse to disclose where this money is. We did that in 2005 though voted for what we were led to believe was a mayor and council that would work with us not against us as that is exactly what they promised but they did nothing in the 3 years they were in power, nothing. they all lie to get our votes then they forget their promises suddenly- good luck though with your election I wish you all the best

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