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Planning, Property & Development

Off Leash Dog Areas Master Plan

The City of Winnipeg developed an Off-Leash Dog Areas Master Plan to respond to growing interest and demand for off-leash dog areas in Winnipeg. The Master Plan will address the needs of all park users and provides a vision and implementation strategy for off-leash dog areas throughout Winnipeg.

Update July 2018
The Off-Leash Dog Areas Master Plan (OLAMP) and other recommendations around off-leash areas were approved by Council on July 19, 2018.

Engage

The Off-Leash Dog Areas Master Plan (OLAMP) is now available under the documents tab. Winnipeggers were asked to respond directly to recommendations made in the draft OLAMP through an online survey available on this project page from May 3 - 20, 2018. Thank you to the 267 people who completed the survey. A further 634 respondents provided partial feedback.

The OLAMP outlines the City's vision, goals, guiding values, and objectives for the future establishment of Off-leash Areas (OLAs) in Winnipeg, as well as policy and standards created for the development and design of OLAs that are safe, accessible, and sustainable. The final document will act as a reference guide for the public to provide clear policy and processes that illustrate how Winnipeg's OLAs are sited and established, while also providing various City departments with guidance for the planning, design, management, and evaluation of current and future OLAs.

The following are the major themes that emerged from the feedback gathered through the OLAMP's final online engagement process:

What we heard

How it was considered

77% participants expressed that secure fencing should be a mandatory feature surrounding all of the City's OLAs in order to mitigate potential conflicts from occurring around OLAs. A number of the OLAMP's standards were adjusted to reflect the City's support for the establishment of fenced OLAs.

The City supports the establishment of secure fencing around OLAs to promote safety and mitigate potential conflicts, however, the establishment of secure fencing requires increased municipal resources. The establishment of secure fencing around Winnipeg's current and future OLAs will be a matter of municipal budgets, site specific conditions, and the fiscal demands/prioritization of other City park planning and/or improvement projects.
83% of participants expressed a desire for the establishment of  ‘single-use' OLAs in order to mitigate conflicts between park users that currently occur wi thin ‘multi-use' OLAs.

A number of the OLAMP's standards were adjusted to reflect the City's support for the establishment of ‘single-use' OLAs.
The City supports the development of ‘single-use' OLAs, and has committed to advocate for the establishment of ‘single-use' OLAs over the establishment of ‘multi-use' OLAs. However, increased municipal resources are required to establish ‘single-use' OLAs, (i.e., for fencing and additional maintenance). As a result, municipal budgets, site specific conditions, user-driven demand, and the standards outlined in the OLAMP, will determine if and where the City can establish ‘single-use' OLAs. The City understands the benefits, and the user-demand for ‘single-use' OLAs, and will work to establish and designate OLAs as ‘single-use' where possible.  Although the establishment of secure, ‘single-use' OLAs is a priority of the City, the establishment of these types of OLAs must retain a balance with the demands of other City projects/initiatives that require increased resources to facilitate.

Establishment of Seasonal Adaptive (temporary) OLAs in community centre hockey pens should be initiated by the City rather than the individual community centres themselves (or by a community organization or member of the general public). The Seasonal Adaptive OLA component of the OLAMP clarifies the relationship and management structure between the City, the City's community centres, and the Greater Council of Winnipeg Community Centres (GCWCC), and establishes why the City cannot initiate the development of temporary (Seasonal Adaptive) OLAs in community centre hockey pens as per the current policies outlined in the GCWCC's Constitution. In order to change this management structure, the GCWCC and the City would need to agree to change the provisions outlined in the GCWCC's Constitution. This is something that the City is willing to explore with the GCWCC.

11 participants expressed concern that the OLAMP was written to reflect the ‘balanced' interests of Winnipeg's park users, and that it should have been written to only reflect the needs and desires of OLA users.

The OLAMP was drafted to reflect the balanced needs of Winnipeg's park users, which includes OLA-users, as well as other park users. The City supports the establishment and responsible management of OLAs in its parks and greenspaces, however, the City must also support and consider the interests of the City's other parks and greenspace users. The OLAMP must align with OurWinnipeg, the Recreation and Parks Master Plan, and the Regional Parks Investment Strategy. In order to align with these documents, and to develop a responsible and implementable planning document, the OLAMP must establish policies and standards that not only consider the users of OLAs, but also the priorities of the other users of the City's parks system.

Prior to the project's last phase of public engagement, a draft of the Off-Leash Dog Areas Master Plan (OLAMP) was developed. The documents tab contains a newsletter summarizing the work done and the draft OLAMP.

Decisions in the draft OLAMP were informed by the large amount of public feedback we received in late 2017. Thank you to the 2,120 people who completed the online survey and 250 people who contributed to the online mapping tool in late 2017. Participants now have an opportunity to see how their feedback was considered in a public engagement report and public engagement summary that are currently available under the documents tab.

If you would like to stay updated on City of Winnipeg public engagement events, follow the City on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for our public engagement newsletter.

Project Timeline

Timeline

Timeline

Background

The City of Winnipeg currently operates eleven off-leash dog areas (OLAs) within the City's Parks system, with an additional OLA currently under construction and another receiving modification. In recent years, use of OLAs has significantly increased, and as a result, a need has been identified to increase the number of OLAs available to citizens.

In 2012, a Guidelines for Off Leash Dog Parks in the City of Winnipeg report was developed. In 2014, the City's Executive Policy Committee recommended further research be conducted into OLAs, supported by a comprehensive public engagement process.

The Off-Leash Dog Areas Master Plan (OLAMP) will build on the City's previously prepared Guidelines report, and incorporate additional research and recommendations informed by a comprehensive public engagement process.

The objectives of the OLAMP are to:

  • Engage with key stakeholders and the general public on the current challenges and opportunities for OLAs in Winnipeg.
  • Develop site selection criteria and metrics for determining how OLAs are selected.
  • Develop an implementation strategy for OLAs.
  • Identify gaps and problems to help form the basis for an off OLA policy.
  • Develop policies to address conflicts and maintenance issues.
  • Identify potential partnership and funding opportunities.

Documents

Document Name Date Type
Off-Leash Dog Areas Master Plan 06-26-2018 Newsletter
Community Newsletter 05-03-2018 Newsletter
Draft Off-Leash Dog Areas Report 05-03-2018 Report
Public Engagement Summary 05-03-2018 Report
Public Engagement Report 05-03-2018 Report
Winnipeg Free Press Advertisement 05-03-2018 Advertisement
News release 05-03-2018 News release
Storyboards 03-11-2017 Storyboards
News release 03-11-2017 News release
Guidelines for Off-Leash Dog Parks in Winnipeg 2012-2013 Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is the City creating an Off-Leash Dog Areas Master Plan?

This plan is being developed to address increased use of off leash dog areas and to provide direction on site selection and implementation of both current and future off-leash areas in the city. The Off-Leash Dog Areas Master Plan responds to growing interest and demand for off-leash dog areas in Winnipeg. This plan will address the needs of all park users and will develop a vision and implementation strategy for off-leash dog areas throughout Winnipeg.

Date added: May 1, 2017

What is the goal of the Master Plan?

The objectives of the Master Plan are to:

  • Engage with key stakeholders and the general public on the current challenges and opportunities for off-leash dog areas in Winnipeg.
  • Develop site selection criteria and metrics for determining how off-leash dog areas are selected.
  • Develop an implementation strategy for off-leash dog areas.
  • Identify gaps and problems to help form the basis for an off-leash dog area policy.
  • Develop policies to address conflicts and maintenance issues.
  • Identify potential partnership and funding opportunities.

Date added: May 1, 2017

Why are we taking green space away from people and giving it to dogs instead?

In recent years, use of off-leash dog areas has significantly increased, and as a result, many of the City's off-leash areas experience overuse. It's estimated that off-leash dog areas may be one of the most popular activities in Winnipeg parks. Off-leash dog parks build stronger community ties by fostering social opportunities for dogs and people.

Date added: May 1, 2017

Will this plan create new off-leash dog areas in Winnipeg?

No, the intent of the Master Plan is to establish criteria and metrics for determining how potential sites are selected and to establish a comprehensive off- leash dog area policy that addresses their implementation, maintenance and the potential opportunities and constraints for shared use sites.

Date added: May 1, 2017

What areas will not be considered by the Master Plan?

In accordance with the City of Winnipeg Parks By-law No. 85/2009, areas with high vehicular, rail or pedestrian traffic or areas that interfere with children's play areas, school grounds, athletic fields, picnic areas or public gardens will not be considered as suitable locations in the plan.

Date added: May 1, 2017

I don't own a dog but I use park spaces in Winnipeg – will I be able to contribute feedback and input as part of the Master Plan's public engagement process?

Yes, we want to gather feedback from a wide variety of park users, including dog owners and those without dogs. As many of the City's off-leash dog areas are located in existing park spaces, the Master Plan will address the shared use of park space in Winnipeg for dog owners and those who use the City's park space for other recreational activities. It is important that input from all users of park spaces in the city be gathered for the purposes of developing this Master Plan.

Date added: May 1, 2017

How does this relate to the Guidelines for Off Leash Dog Parks in the City of Winnipeg report?

The Off Leash Dog Area Master Plan will build and expand upon the already established guidelines and recommendations found within the Guidelines for Off Leash Dog Parks in the City of Winnipeg report.

On May 21, 2014 the Executive Policy Committee recommended the Winnipeg Public Service be directed to conduct further research on the matter, and on July 16, 2014 the Executive Policy Committee concurred with the recommendations of the Winnipeg Public Service that a consultant be hired to create a Dog Park Master Plan.

Date added: May 1, 2017

Why does the City provide off leash dog parks?

Off-leash dog areas in Winnipeg are sponsored by the City's Parks and Open Space Division and the Animal Services Agency to provide a safe environment for dog owners to let their pets to socialize and exercise off-leash.

Date added: May 1, 2017

What policies and by-laws currently exist for off-leash dog areas in Winnipeg?

Off- leash areas are established and regulated through the City of Winnipeg Responsible Pet Ownership By-law No. 92/2013. The by-law establishes a set of rules for off-leash dog areas which are posted at each site.

The City has also developed a Code of Ethics for dog owners in an off-leash dog area.

Date added: May 1, 2017

Will the Master Plan change the rules that govern off-leash dog areas?

It is not the intent of the Master Plan to adjust the rules established in the City of Winnipeg Responsible Pet Ownership By-law No. 92/2013, however recommendations identified through the Public Engagement Process to change the by-law may be considered.

Date added: May 1, 2017

Can the Master Plan change the rules that govern off-leash dog areas?

No, as a planning and policy document, the Master Plan does not have the statutory power to change the provisions of the City of Winnipeg Responsible Pet Ownership By-law No. 92/2013.

Date added: May 1, 2017

How are off-leash dog areas maintained?

Maintenance of Off-Leash Areas is conducted by the Parks and Open Space Division and is dependent on seasonal weather conditions, use and location. Grass cutting happens in the range of every 12-14 days to every 60 days. Garbage is removed from trash receptacles in the range of twice a week to once a month. In addition, the City of Winnipeg Responsible Pet Ownership By-law No. 92/2013 outlines that it is the responsibility of the dog owner to pick up after their pet.

Date added: May 1, 2017

How are off-leash dog area rules enforced?

The City has a series of Rules for Off- Leash Dog Areas, which are outlined in the City of Winnipeg Responsible Pet Ownership By-law No. 92/2013. These rules are as follows:

  • Dog owners must be present and within view of their dogs at all times.
  • Aggressive dogs are not allowed in off leash areas.
  • Dogs must be under voice control while off leash.
  • Dog owners must have a leash in hand at all times.
  • Female dogs in heat are not allowed in off leash areas.
  • Holes dug by dogs must be filled by the dog owner.
  • All feces must be picked up by the dog owner and removed or deposited in waste receptacles.
  • All dogs must be licensed in accordance with the City of Winnipeg Responsible Pet Ownership By-law No. 92/2013.

The Rules for Off- Leash Areas outlined in the City of Winnipeg Responsible Pet Ownership By-law No. 92/2013 are enforced by delegated City enforcement officers, who have the authority to issue by-law violations with monetary fines. Minimum fines are also outlined in By-law 92/2013.

In addition, several community groups and advocacy organizations exist within Winnipeg which promote responsible pet ownership and act as stewards for many off-leash dog areas through the City's Adopt-A-Park program.

Date added: May 1, 2017

How are off-leash dog areas funded?

Off-leash dog areas are managed (and operated) by the City's Parks and Open Spaces Division in cooperation with the Animal Services Agency.

Date added: May 1, 2017

How can I stay involved in the project?

Look at the "Engage" tab on this website to participate in an online survey or attend an open house event to share your thoughts.

You can also follow the City on Facebook and Twitter to receive updates on upcoming public engagement activites, or sign up for our public engagement newsletter.

Learn more about the City's current off-leash dog areas.

Date added: May 1, 2017

Maps

Timeline

Map

Last update: July 24, 2018