City of Regina exploring proposal to fund dog parks through pet licence charge

Regina city council has asked administration to explore whether or not the city can add a fee to pet licences to pay for additional dog parks.

Some question over whether city has authority to use fees to pay for fencing

Regina city council has asked administration to determine whether or not it can charge a fee for dog park infrastructure. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

Regina city council has asked city administration to look into whether or not it can fund dog parks through an additional $10 charge to pet licences. 

The city's solicitor is looking into the matter, as there is uncertainty about whether the fee could be used for fencing, for example — because it would be considered infrastructure, and not a service. 

"We did talk to legal and legal said they're not sure it can … go to infrastructure, but we left it on the table," said Coun. Lori Bresciani (Ward 4) on Wednesday.

Mayor Michael Fougere said on Tuesday there are other cities where money from dog licences goes toward things like maintaining parks.

The City of Edmonton, for example, uses a portion of the money raised from licensing to maintain its off-leash parks.

"Our administration will see whether it's actually doable or not," Fougere said.

There are currently about 8,600 dogs and approximately 5,050 cats licensed in Regina. No data is available for lapsed licences or the number of unlicensed pets in the city.

Pet licences in Regina are valid for one year, after which they must be renewed.

The cost of licensing a fixed dog or puppy is $25 per year, which would rise to $35 if the proposed change goes forward. Cats which have been neutered or spayed can be licensed for $20.

The fee jumps up to $100 for dogs and cats that haven't been spayed or neutered.

City could have 4 more dog parks 

The community and protective services committee recommended three dog parks for approval at its last meeting: a fenced municipal dog park and two neighbourhood-style parks, which would be unfenced.

Bresciani introduced an amendment at Monday's council meeting to consider also making Harding Park a dog park in the upcoming budget deliberations. During that same meeting, council voted down the idea of unfenced parks all together.

Delegates at the committee meeting argued against unfenced parks, saying they pose a danger to wildlife and the dogs themselves, as some of the proposed locations were near major roadways.

Four parks are now being considered, Bresciani said — Harding Park at budget, along with two approved parks in the Regent Par 3 area and one in Mount Pleasant.

"We have to be very sensitive when we have communities that are already built and now we're going back in and putting in these dog parks, because we can also see that it will impact parking in residential areas," said Bresciani.  

"And I think sometimes, of course, there are people out there that sometimes are worried about having more traffic in their area."

With files from CBC Radio's The Morning Edition


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