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Council responds to community on off-leash dog parks

Following extensive engagement and community feedback, Lethbridge City Council will not proceed on six previously-proposed dog park locations in established neighbourhoods.

Instead, based on the engagement results, Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to consider appropriate areas for future dog parks when new Outline Plans, or amendments to Outline Plans, come forward. This will involve continued work with BILD Lethbridge, land developers and landowners moving forward.

The resolution also directs Administration to work with landowners and developers to develop criteria and design standards for new dog parks and have Opportunity Lethbridge identify City-owned underutilized land that may be appropriate for future dog parks.

Tuesday’s decision stemmed from a unanimous recommendation at the April 6 Civic Works Standing Policy Committee meeting.

“This process has been a great example of our Council engaging with – and then directly listening to – our residents on a matter we found to be of great significance to them,” says Acting Mayor Ryan Parker. “On behalf of City Council, I want to thank our residents for actively participating and providing us with their valued feedback. I also want to thank our Administration, specifically the Parks & Cemeteries staff, for their efforts in exploring what options existed as well as for suggesting an appropriate direction moving forward.”

“We are pleased at the public engagement process and are eager to find new opportunities to add new off-leash dog parks in the future, in a way that can be best suited for all of our residents,” says Blair Richter, General Manager of Parks & Cemeteries.

In November 2021, Council asked Administration to explore options in adding more off-leash dog parks in Lethbridge. The Parks & Cemeteries department then presented a plan, with public engagement as a key component. Based on results from the first phase of engagement in spring 2022, from dog owners and non-dog owners to gauge their interest in adding off-leash parks, they recommended six locations to be explored further (two each on the north, south and west sides of the city).

The phase two engagement survey was available in January 2023 to all residents, including a question to specify if a resident lived within two blocks of a proposed location. The community also provided feedback at the Community Conversation at the ENMAX Centre on January 18.

The full What We Heard Report on off-leash dog park engagement can be viewed here.

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