News & Information

News & Updates from the park

24

Jul 2016

Reflections on Niverville Dog Park

Posted by / in Information, News /

Across North America, off-leash dog parks lead the way in new urban park development, growing by 89 percent since 2007. But off-leash parks are changing thanks to the growing number of informed and involved dog lovers.

Many dog parks, like the new one in Niverville, are being revamped to include amenities for people and dogs alike. They’re designed to provide an enriched, safe, attractive setting for exercise, fun and enjoyment.

This is what Kilcona Park Dog Club had in mind when the Board first proposed the water features project to the City of Winnipeg.

Aesthetic and functional, modern dog park features run the gamut. Most, including Kilcona, are equipped with benches and picnic tables, shade trees, and some kind of waste removal system, whether it’s mutt mitts, plastic bags, or pooper scoopers and trash receptacles.

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Almost all modern dog parks are equipped with a water station or drinking fountain for dogs and people. And if chasing a ball isn’t quite enough stimulation, a lot of parks now boast separate areas for agility courses and/ or play equipment.

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Doggy splash pad near Atlanta, GA.

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Buchanan Dog Park’s  “Tree of Dreams” shoots tennis balls!

Winnipeg dog owners don’t have to look far to see what can happen when a progressive-thinking municipality, volunteers, and businesses work together.

Niverville’s new dog park, hailed as a “Disneyland for Dogs” and a “One of a Kind in Manitoba”, opened yesterday through a public/private partnership between the municipality, which owns the land, and “Friends of Niverville Dog Park”, a volunteer organization like KPDC, that fundraises, works with sponsors, and donates equipment to the park.

Niverville’s Town Council and the public service are enthusiastic about the new park, believing it benefits the whole community by keeping dogs out of other public spaces and by attracting visitors to the community.

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Niverville volunteers and businesses installing dog park equipment

Until recently Niverville Dog Park was an underused baseball diamond. The Town of Niverville re-purposed the chain link fencing to turn the space into a fully fenced, landscaped municipal off-leash dog park complete with agility equipment – colourful ramps, jumps, tunnels, weaving poles, a teeter totter, waste bag dispensers, litter baskets, a recycling bin and a dog-themed seating area.

Agility is the ability to move quickly and easily; it’s about being nimble. Niverville Dog Park’s agility equipment is really a metaphor for the entire community. Local businesses constructed the equipment; the Town of Niverville prepared the concrete pads and volunteers installed the structures. Niverville’s dog park was developed in less than a year because the town’s agility and a surplus of good will and a remarkable effort by everyone involved.

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Opening day at Niverville Dog Park –  a family affair!

In contrast, at Kilcona Dog Park, the long-awaited water features project is well behind schedule, moving at the speed of molasses, caught up in bureaucratic red tape. While KPDC has raised more than enough money to fund the installation of the water line, a drinking fountain and a dog rinse station, the City administration stalled for a year and a half on the club’s  application for a lease.

And, in the end, the City’s terms and conditions were so onerous the Board was unable to sign the lease agreement. Among other things, the club would be required to pay the City to donate equipment to the park and would be required to take over maintenance, including mowing, snow removal, security and policing.

KPDC’s Board continues to work with the City administration to bring water into the off-leash area, and come to agreement on a suitable location for the drinking fountain, dog rinse station and splash pad.

The Board is optimistic that the “get ‘er done” attitude and exceptional cooperation of our dog-loving Niverville neighbours will serve as inspiration and an example of what can happen when municipal administrators are willing to work with community volunteers and elected officials to create safe and attractive off-leash spaces.

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