News & Information

News & Updates from the park

16

Nov 2017

Making it Easier to Do Your Doody – Kilcona Dog Park Waste Management Pilot Project

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 Kilcona Park Dog Club has just installed two new in-ground waste bins in one of the most heavily used parts of the off-leash area. One bin is next to the waste bag dispenser on the north-south service road; the other is located where the service road connects to the North Pond Trail near the entrance to the sheltered winter pond trails.

 

 

Good news! The new lever handles make them much easier to open than the older bins.  Each bin holds the equivalent of 20 standard park litter baskets.

 

 

The high-capacity bins will make it easier for dog owners to comply with Winnipeg’s “stoop and scoop” by-law.

Four factors made the service road a priority for in-ground bins.

  1. Most dog park visitors exit the parking lot by heading north on the service road. From there, they access the network of off-leash trails.

  2. Little known fact – dogs typically defecate along the first 250 metres of a trail.

  3. No surprise – dog feces tend to accumulate in the most heavily used areas.

  4. Until now there have only been two small litter baskets along the road. One is removed in the winter.

KPDC’s Waste Management Pilot Project is a response to environmental concerns, canine health-related issues, and on-going complaints from responsible dog owners and other park users about unclaimed dog feces at Kilcona Park.

Dog owners’  identified a need for more waste bins in heavy-use areas, especially during prolonged periods of extreme wind chills — in the -40 C to -45 C range – that we experienced in January 2017 when KPDC  surveyed park users.

  • “Of all the years I’ve been coming to Kilcona, the dog crap situation this winter is, without question, the absolute worst. On the service road heading north, a literal carpet of crap existed within the first 8’ from the road edges prior to the recent thaw…”

  • “I hope there will also be more garbage cans for the poop bags…the only thing worse than poop on the ground is poop, preserved in a bag, laying on the ground forever.”

  • “In the on-leash section of the park there are no dispensers and the number of waste bins has gone down. Lately I’ve seen poop bags thrown about and the amount of poop left lying around had gone up. I think these things are connected.”

  • “More garbage cans along the paths, not everyone wants to carry a bag of poop as some paths don’t have any garbage cans!”

  • “If it’s about poop that is not right by the pathway…I think it may not have been picked up as the snow is so deep and you’d sink knee and sometimes hip deep to get to it, so I know I didn’t pick it up. What I did do is that I would try to pick up another poop in my travels to make up for it, if I could…”

  • “I remember being very impressed with the improved cleanliness of the park last fall. My only guess about the change this past January is…the particularly cold and snowy December…”

Canine Health and Environmental Issues – Veterinarians have informed KPDC that dogs that swim in or drink Kilcona’s retention pond water are getting sick. KPDC’s independent testing of the pond water by ASL Environmental in 2014 and 2015 confirmed the presence of alarmingly high levels of E. coli bacteria in the ponds.

It is worth noting that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers unclaimed dog waste a serious environmental and public health issue. The agency labels dog feces a nonpoint source (NPS) pollutant and places it in the same category as herbicides and insecticides; oil, grease and toxic chemicals; and acid drainage from abandoned mines.

A single gram of dog waste contains approximately 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause include stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and fever. The bacteria can also cause infections of the urinary tract, skin and mucous membranes, pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses, and can even lead to death in humans and animals.

The City of Winnipeg has indicated that dog and wildlife feces are the most likely sources of coliform bacteria in Kilcona’s ponds.   Although this has not been proven, the assumption is reasonable. In other jurisdictions, runoff from dog parks have been found to contribute to unnaturally high levels of bacteria in waterways.

Dog feces are also one of the most common carriers of other disease: parvovirus, coronavirus, giardiasis, salmonellosis, cryptosporidiosis, campylobacteriosis, and parasites like hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms.

The new in-ground bins are also a response to three other Kilcona Dog Park management issues. A 2011 report commissioned by Parks and Open Space identifies factors that discourage dog owners from complying with the “stoop and scoop” by-law:

  • Kilcona’s waste receptacles are spaced too far apart.

  • The spacing of receptacles is not uniform throughout the park.

  • The location of the receptacles change periodically.

Off-leash area management research has shown that one of the barriers to compliance is the awkwardness and physical discomfort in extremely cold temperatures of carrying a waste-filled bag for a long distance. Even responsible dog owners have been known to abandon a filled waste bag because their hands were freezing.

KPDC appreciates the broad community support for the Dog Waste Management Pilot Project and thanks our partners who’ve made the project possible and sustainable.

  • During Phase One, Royal LePage Prime Real Estate partnered with Kilcona Park Dog Club to purchase waste bag dispensers.

  • Since the dispensers were installed, Royal LePage Prime has purchase over 150,000 waste bags.

  • Kilcona Park staff monitor the bag dispensers, kept them filled, and notified KPDC when supplies are running low.

In response to a November 2016 survey of over 900 KPDC members and park users, 80% perceived the park as being somewhat or much cleaner.

  • 85% of respondents reported they pick up after their dogs all the time and 14% picked up most of the time. Only 1% reported picking up sometimes.

  • 18% of respondents reported picking up more often because of the convenience of the bags.

  • 71% of respondents perceived that people were doing a better job of picking up after their dogs.

  • 85% of respondents brought their own bags, relying on the dispensers only in an emergency.

Kilcona Park Dog Club’s Board of Directors encourages members to “lead by example”. Keep our favorite dog park clean and safe for our fur kids and ourselves. Offer bags to those in need, and exert civic peer pressure to encourage negligent dog owners to become more responsible.

The findings of KPDC’s pilot project have been published. An electronic copy of Kilcona Park Waste Bag Pilot Project Evaluation is available on request.

 

 

 

 

 

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