Have your say on downtown dog park



John Arnett
John Arnett walks dogs Maverick (left) and Roxy in Crescentwood earlier this winter. The city is conducting a public survey on a planned downtown dog park. (Kevin King/Winnipeg Sun file photo)

Downtown Winnipeg will soon go to the leash-free dogs.

Mayor Brian Bowman still wants to establish an off-leash dog park in the downtown area to accommodate dog owners currently living in the heart of the city and those who may be considering doing so. As a result, the city is now offering a survey to see where people would like to see such a park put, where they would not want it located, and what kind of park they would prefer.

“Our downtown needs to feel like a neighbourhood for residents,” Bowman, who couldn’t be reached for comment, posted on his Facebook page. “We want downtown living to be an option for all Winnipeggers, offering similar amenities to those people currently enjoy in the suburbs.”

Donna Henry, Winnipeg Network of Dog Owners Group president, endorsed the concept.

“We think it’s a really good idea because there aren’t any dog parks downtown, or even close to downtown,” she said. “There are 11 off-leash dog parks in the city right now and they’re all in the suburbs.

“A lot of people are living downtown now and dog parks are places where people socialize.”

Henry, however, would prefer to have three smaller dog parks downtown, as opposed to a suggested destination dog park at The Forks, which would attract too much traffic.

“People want to go somewhere they can walk to in 10-15 minutes,” she said.

New York City features a number of small dog parks on corner lots near cafes, said Downtown BIZ executive director Stefano Grande.

“The park can be relatively small or one where you can throw a bone,” he said. “But there are a growing number of people with dogs living downtown.”

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi said everyone needs to look at what is actually available.

“The green space is very limited downtown and that has to be considered,” she said. “I don’t want to jump into any solutions but they have done it in cities like New York, using different models.”

The survey can be accessed on the city’s website at until Jan. 20.

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