Improvements at the Dog Park
Winnipeg Parks and Open Space Division has begun to implement some of its consultant’s recommendations for improvements to the Dog Park. KPDC, Kilcona’s official steward, will work with the City to raise funds for specific improvement projects.
The recommendations are contained in a report entitled “Kilcona Park – Off-Leash Area Path Remediation.” The report was prepared by Landscape Architect Dean Spearman who was commissioned by the City of Winnipeg in April 2011 to study and address trail damage and to look at ways to enhance the visitor experience in Kilcona’s off-leash area. The report indicates that the trails at Kilcona Park’s Off-Leash Dog Park are facing a number of challenges.
The Board of Directors of Kilcona Park Dog Club worked closely with Mr. Spearman and Parks and Open Spaces throughout the study. The club held a public meeting last April, where Mr. Spearman met with dog owners to hear their concerns. The following points were raised:
- Trails had been damaged by vehicles, aggressive snow clearing practices and overuse. As a result, trails were compromised in spring and after heavy rain; rendering them muddy, slippery and difficult to navigate.
- Poor drainage and run-off were contributing to trail erosion.
- A shortage of litter baskets discouraged dog owners from picking up after their pets.
- The off-leash area should be expanded to accommodate the increased number of dogs and people using the park.
- More trees should be planted to create shelter belts, and existing trees should be protected from dog urine with guards.
- Washroom hours should be extended beyond 3pm because most people walk their dogs in the evening.
- The toboggan run adjacent to the off-leash area should be moved or closed.
Mr. Spearman also met with park staff to hear their point of view and made several on-site visits during the spring and summer to evaluate the trail network. He hiked the park’s entire trail network with the Board to hear Kilcona Park Dog Club’s perspective.
The report notes:
“The user density of Kilcona Park exceeds the capacity of the trails in their current state. Short and long-term capital investments are required if the trails are to be able to meet the demands of current and increasing park user-ship. Durable trails must be able to drain well and there are several areas that require some form of surface grade alteration to provide good drainage.
Lack of drainage, combined with increased usage and prolonged wet periods over a number of years, compounded with unfortunate maintenance practices have resulted in unfavourable path conditions such as standing water, ruts and muddy sections.
In addition, conflicts, both perceived and real, between different park users exist. Finally, some issues arise regarding the “legibility” of the off-leash area.”
The report recommends:
- Remediation that improves drainage at key locations, including ditch excavation, the installation of more culverts, regarding, and surfacing the paths with crusher fines instead of wood chips, which actually retain moisture and slow the rate of evaporation.
- Policies that prevent damage to the paths and allow them to recover from stress.
- Improving site furnishings, signage and providing trash receptacle stations.
- Path reconstruction and improvements in selected locations.
- Provision of more appropriate tools and equipment to maintenance staff.
- Clearly stated and communicated policies.
- New signage – both temporary and permanent – to communicate ongoing path management, and more permanent usage guidelines.
In addition the report contains specific recommendations for:
- Improved park maintenance practices and procedures that include vehicle considerations.
- Minimizing human and animal impact on trails by widening them, permanently and/or temporarily closing, relocating, and/or rotating them.
- Park furnishings – more benches along the trails, trash kiosks, and standardized signage regarding park etiquette, by-laws, water advisories, trail closures, and maps).
The City has already implemented several recommendations.
- Six new trash/signage kiosks with park maps have been manufactured and will be installed along the trails this summer.
- Additional litter baskets have been installed at permanent locations.
- New water quality warning signs have been installed near the ponds in the off-leash area and more will be added this spring.
- Washroom hours have been extended to accommodate evening traffic.
- New lower impact snow clearing practices and summer maintenance practices are in place.
- The toboggan run adjacent to the off-leash will be relocated south of the ball diamond to reduce conflict between the user groups and giving tobogganers a longer, obstacle-free run.
The class D estimate for improving drainage, upgrading the perimeter trail in the off-leash area and for kiosks, benches, signage and tree guards is close to $500,000. KPDC will focus on raising funds for specific improvements such as the purchase of benches and kiosks, forestation of the off-leash area and upgrading sections of the trail network.