Ideas sought on dog park's proximity to playground

About 100 dog owners were asked for ideas at a meeting Monday about how to solve safety concerns about the proximity of a new playground to a popular off-leash area in a southeast Edmonton park.
People look over plans for Jackie Parker Park at a meeting in Edmonton Monday night. ((CBC))

About 100 dog owners were asked for ideas at a meeting Monday about how to solve safety concerns about the proximity of a new playground to a popular off-leash area in a southeast Edmonton park.

A new playground and splash park will open in Jackie Parker Park next summer. However, its location across the road from the dog park has raised concerns about the safety of children who will use the playground.

Some people believe a fence is needed to keep the two groups apart, but dog owner Glenn Walker thinks that's not necessary.

"There's the road, there's the parking lot that divides it off. Gives a fairly good separation from the dog off-leash area," he said. "It should be able to, you know, keep the two communities apart and give them some safety."

Local studies have shown that dogs in off-leash areas pose a low risk to children, said Debi Anderson with the City of Edmonton.

"My understanding is, we're able to manage that quite well at other sites and the dogs are not really that interested in children. So, I think there's a fear that dogs will see children playing and want to run over there. But a well-managed dog … that shouldn't be a problem."

However, the city is still considering barriers around the park.

"What you see in other municipalities, sometimes there are fences, sometimes you see some natural barriers created ... rocks, trees," said Bob Priebe from the city.

Dog owners at Monday's meeting filled out a survey about what they think should be done. 

The city is putting together a community panel with the hope of resolving the issue before the playground opens next summer.