Winnipeg committee chews over dog park report
A city committee has voted in favour of new guidelines for places where Fido can play off-leash in Winnipeg.
For more than two years, the City of Winnipeg has been working on criteria for dog parks.
The report, which was approved by council's protection and community services committee on Monday, lays out guidelines for everything from the size of the parks to proper signage and parking.
But Donna Henry of the Winnipeg Network of Dog Owner Groups (WINDOG) says the guidelines fall short when it comes to the number of off-leash parks needed.
The city has 11 off-leash dog parks compared to 49 in Edmonton and 150 in Calgary, said Henry, who said dog owners want smaller neighbourhood parks.
"Winnipeg has no shortage of green space. We have 10,000 acres of green space in the city," she said. "Only 250 acres are off-leash parks, so we just want some balance here."
Some councillors have argued that dog parks are not core services and will cost taxpayers money, but Henry said the parks are necessary.
"Those dog parks should be there for people the same way that skateboard parks are, the same way that soccer fields are, and we take it a step further than where these guidelines have gone," she said.
Humane society says it wasn't consulted
Bill McDonald of the Winnipeg Humane Society isn't happy with the report and is upset he was never consulted.
"I kind of find the tone of the report is of a nature of: we're being told, not asked, what's going to go on here," he said.
"I was never called about this, and I'm right next door to an off-leash park."
The Winnipeg Humane Society is next to the Brenda Leipsic dog park, located in the Parker Wetlands neighbourhood, which is under threat of being developed as part of the city's rapid transit route expansion.
The 11 off-leash dog parks in the city are shrinking or being moved because of development, said McDonald.
McDonald agreed that most Winnipeg dog owners want smaller neighbourhood dog parks they can walk to. He hopes the city listens to those suggestions, which come directly from dog park users' groups.
The dog park report still has to go through the executive policy committee, then council as a whole for final approval.
- ON MOBILE? Read the dog park report here.