People, Parks and Pups: A strategy for sharing parks and open space in New Westminster

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Consultation has concluded


Project Update, February 2022: City Council adopted the People, Parks and Pups Strategy on February 14, 2022. Click here to access the approved strategy, and here for the report to Council.



Project Update, December 2021: The Phase 2 Engagement Summary Report is now available! Check out the summary of the engagement process, and the key themes we heard from participants. You can also read the direct comments from community members in the verbatim input report.


The project team used the engagement results to help refine the draft People, Parks and Pups Strategy recommendations. The strategy was presented to City Council at its December 13, 2021 meeting, and Council was asked for feedback. Click here to access the Council presentation, report and watch the meeting video.



Project Update, August 2021: Phase 1 Engagement Summary Report is now available! Check out the summary of the engagement process, and the key themes we heard from participants. The report also includes the verbatim input we received through the survey, online forum, mapping tool and meeting notes.


introduction

Conversations with the community are underway to better plan and design parks and open spaces that meet the needs of all residents - including seniors, adults, children and dogs! With population growth and people living in smaller spaces, it’s important that we hear all perspectives (dog and non-dog owners) on how best to foster the health and wellbeing of all park users and promote responsible dog ownership.

The Parks & Recreation Department is seeking input from all residents to help develop a long-term strategy called People, Parks and Pups: A strategy for sharing parks and open space in New Westminster. The strategy will consider all points of view in planning, designing and maintaining space for dogs that respects a diversity of park uses.


WHY DO WE NEED A STRATEGY?

The People, Parks and Pups Strategy is an opportunity for the Parks & Recreation Department to hear from the community on how to successfully include more space for dogs into the existing parks and open space system in New Westminster. The goal of this project is to be proactive in planning and providing space for dogs, while balancing the many other (and often competing) recreational needs within our parks and opens spaces. Meeting the growing demand for dog off-leash areas in New Westminster requires conversations with a diverse community of park users to develop creative solutions.


How can I Engage?

Two phases of community engagement have been completed for this project, and helped inform development of the People, Parks and Pups Strategy. The strategy will be presented to City Council on December 13, 2021.


WHERE ARE NEW WESTMINSTER'S DOG OFF-LEASH AREAS?

Map of New Westminster's Dog Off-Leash Areas

Off-leash dog areas provide safe and secure spaces where dog owners can legally run their dog off-leash and are a valued service in urban settings. The City of New Westminster currently operates eight Dog Off-Leash Areas:

Downtown (temporary location), Hume Park, Moody Park, Quayside (temporary location), Queen's Park, Westburnco, West Side, Ryall Park.


Project Update, February 2022: City Council adopted the People, Parks and Pups Strategy on February 14, 2022. Click here to access the approved strategy, and here for the report to Council.



Project Update, December 2021: The Phase 2 Engagement Summary Report is now available! Check out the summary of the engagement process, and the key themes we heard from participants. You can also read the direct comments from community members in the verbatim input report.


The project team used the engagement results to help refine the draft People, Parks and Pups Strategy recommendations. The strategy was presented to City Council at its December 13, 2021 meeting, and Council was asked for feedback. Click here to access the Council presentation, report and watch the meeting video.



Project Update, August 2021: Phase 1 Engagement Summary Report is now available! Check out the summary of the engagement process, and the key themes we heard from participants. The report also includes the verbatim input we received through the survey, online forum, mapping tool and meeting notes.


introduction

Conversations with the community are underway to better plan and design parks and open spaces that meet the needs of all residents - including seniors, adults, children and dogs! With population growth and people living in smaller spaces, it’s important that we hear all perspectives (dog and non-dog owners) on how best to foster the health and wellbeing of all park users and promote responsible dog ownership.

The Parks & Recreation Department is seeking input from all residents to help develop a long-term strategy called People, Parks and Pups: A strategy for sharing parks and open space in New Westminster. The strategy will consider all points of view in planning, designing and maintaining space for dogs that respects a diversity of park uses.


WHY DO WE NEED A STRATEGY?

The People, Parks and Pups Strategy is an opportunity for the Parks & Recreation Department to hear from the community on how to successfully include more space for dogs into the existing parks and open space system in New Westminster. The goal of this project is to be proactive in planning and providing space for dogs, while balancing the many other (and often competing) recreational needs within our parks and opens spaces. Meeting the growing demand for dog off-leash areas in New Westminster requires conversations with a diverse community of park users to develop creative solutions.


How can I Engage?

Two phases of community engagement have been completed for this project, and helped inform development of the People, Parks and Pups Strategy. The strategy will be presented to City Council on December 13, 2021.


WHERE ARE NEW WESTMINSTER'S DOG OFF-LEASH AREAS?

Map of New Westminster's Dog Off-Leash Areas

Off-leash dog areas provide safe and secure spaces where dog owners can legally run their dog off-leash and are a valued service in urban settings. The City of New Westminster currently operates eight Dog Off-Leash Areas:

Downtown (temporary location), Hume Park, Moody Park, Quayside (temporary location), Queen's Park, Westburnco, West Side, Ryall Park.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Please add questions here and we will aim to reply within 5 business days. If we think your question would be of interest to others, we'll post your question and our response here. Thank you for taking the time to ask a question.

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    Will there be dog waste bin in dog parks like Burnaby does?

    Munchkin619 asked 4 months ago

    Hello and thanks for your question. If you are referring to the red bins for dog waste ONLY that are located in some dog parks in Burnaby, the City of New Westminster is not currently planning to install any of these special bins. These bins in Burnaby and Vancouver are part of a program that aims to divert pet waste from the regular garbage system. The City of New Westminster has looked into offering a similar program but the costs are very high. 

    We are, however, looking at changes to the types of bins located in and near our dog off-leash areas. The City’s People, Parks and Pups Strategy outlines exploring options for providing bins in convenient locations for dog owners to deposit dog waste that are identifiable and easy to use (i.e. no lifting a lid, conveniently located, etc.).

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    Please if we could have some lights around dog parks it would be awesome. It’s getting dark before 5pm.

    Lmr asked 10 months ago

    Thank you for your suggestion to include lighting in the city’s dog off-leash areas. Staff heard this same request from a number of participants throughout the engagement process towards developing the People, Parks and Pups Strategy. The draft Strategy does include a recommendation to conduct feasibility studies for providing lighting in off-leash areas to allow for year-round use. The feasibility study will consider:

    • Impact of lighting on adjacent uses (i.e. residences or significant wildlife habitat/ forest)
    • Existing power supply and capacity
    • Location of existing power connection
    • Cost/ benefit analysis


    There will be a presentation on the draft Strategy at this evening's (Dec. 13) Council meeting. Find more information about watching the Council meeting online here: https://www.newwestcity.ca/city_hall/council_agendas_meetings/council-meeting-agendas-reports-minutes 

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    Will city watch and fine off leashed dogs in non off leash area? I have seen many dogs off leashed walking on pedestrian path or non off leashed parks like pier parks. They will keep doing it without any consequences applied. Signage to tell to leash your dog doesn't do anything. Not all people, kids, or other dogs like or feel safe to be approached by off leash dogs in public non off leash areas.

    Saura asked 12 months ago

    Our Animal Services Officers proactively patrol parks and open spaces, when call loads allow. Our goal is to gain compliance from owners by providing education and resources. If compliance is not achieved, or the person is a repeat offender, fines will be issued. The minimum fine for an off leash dog is $250.

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    Perhaps engaging in a strategy much like Vancouver to allow for dog use of public school space. They have a comprehensive policy that promotes utility of public spaces for both children and humans.

    Gladys asked 12 months ago

    Thank you for your suggestion. One goal of this Strategy is to plan for future potential sites for new off leash areas. However, the suggested sites fall outside of the city’s jurisdiction and require a comprehensive and collaborative study with the School District to evaluate the suitability of school grounds for off-leash use. This strategy also explores ways to create utility for both “children and humans” in public space.

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    The dog area on Columbia and Begbie is always dirty and trash is always full. How often is it clean up? I understand the dog waste should be owner's responsibility but it seems not everyone understands that..

    Nathalia asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for notifying us with this issue at the dog relief station on Columbia St., we have notified our Operations staff.

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    Are we going to get some simple lights at simcoe park and the other dog parks. As of winter it’s dark at 6pm and we cannot see anything. I understand you can’t have massive lights but maybe a streetlight or something smaller around the parks so we can see for safety!

    Beck asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for your inquiry. We have heard similar requests from a number of participants through the first phase of engagement in developing the People, Parks and Pups Strategy. In response, lighting will be added to our list of “Special Amenities” to be considered on a case-by-case basis. We understand that lighting can help park visitors feel safe and comfortable, and can extend the use of off-leash areas, particularly in the winter season. Lighting at Simcoe Parks will be evaluated in consideration of safety, surrounding land use, ecology, existing utility infrastructure and the city’s financial capital plan.

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    There's a VERY high number of off-leash dogs in non-off-leash areas (I encounter about 3-6 a day when walking my own dog) and they often dominate a large portion of the parks as they run around and the owners don't seem to show much regard for other park users. Will the City-wide Dog strategy touch on this issue, the lack of enforcement, and how the city plans to make the parks more enjoyable for leashed dogs and other park users who don't enjoy being charged by off-leash dogs? I fear that having "designated hours for dogs to be off-leash" won't work, since people already let their dogs off-leash whenever they want, and may have the unintended effect of MORE off-leash dogs in parks outside the designated window since people may begin to view these areas as off-leash and ignore (or not notice) the off-leash timeframe. Generally, I'm curious to know how the City-wide Dog strategy plans to make parks more enjoyable, and safer, for fearful/reactive, leashed dogs?

    Tarot asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for reaching out with your concern regarding off-leash dogs in non-off-leash areas. This is one of the many types of issues that we hope to address within the new Strategy. 

    New Westminster Animal Services is responsible for keeping the community safe by providing education and ensuring compliance within the Animal Care and Control Bylaw. We also operate the City’s Animal Shelter by caring for the abandoned, stray, and unwanted animals of New Westminster. With our available resources, we try and proactively monitor all parks and open space areas within the City but we rely on the public to report any violations of the Animal Care and Control Bylaw at 604-519-2008. 

    We appreciate your comments on “designated hours for dogs to be off-leash” and will review best management practices and suitable pilot locations for a trial period. For the purposes of developing the Strategy, we have documented the concerns outlined in your message. 


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    How does the city plan to keep its citizens safe from dangerous dog breeds/owners who don't train and control their dogs? What will be the punishment for violent dog attacks?

    doghater asked about 1 year ago

    The City’s Animal Care and Control Bylaw already covers aggressive/vicious/dangerous dogs, regardless of breed. Owners who allow their dogs to display aggressive behaviour or cause injuries to other animals or people may be subject to fines and handling restrictions. Animal Services Officers rely on community members to alert us to any concerns they have, so we may investigate accordingly.

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    How does the city plan to keep off-leash dog areas safe and secure?

    doghater asked about 1 year ago

    The People, Parks and Pups Strategy provides a framework for the next ten years and beyond, to deliver well-planned and designed parks that accommodate park users with and without dogs and minimize conflict. Recommendations fall into four themes: Plan, Design, Maintenance and Stewardship, each developed to promote the comfort and safety of all park users.

    The City’s Animal Service Officers will continue to respond to reports of concerns by community members, by upholding the Animal Care and Control Bylaw, which also applies to off-leash areas.


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    When is the city putting dedicated pooh garbage cans?

    Irena asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for your inquiry. “Dog waste bins” will be added to our list of Standard Amenities and will be one of the recommendations included in the report. The Dog waste bins refer to easily-identifiable bins that are designed for ease-of-use and regular collection. Currently we are in the process of Phase #2 Public Engagement that will last until the end of October. Once the recommendations have been endorsed by Council, the soonest time we can implement would be 2022 pending budget approval.