The open house will share information about proposed adjustments that will better define the perimeter of the dog park to improve the experience for both dog park users and the pedestrians and cyclists that use the Meewasin trail.  Feedback gathered will be incorporated into a final redesign plan to amend the park’s boundaries, through new fencing and gates, subject to the approval of the Meewasin Valley Authority and City Council.  Construction is targeted for 2018.

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17 Responses

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Larry Scott at July 14, 2017 at 12:41pm CDT

A lot of angry dog owners at that meeting. Only one fellow at the meeting I saw wondering why he can't go wherever he wants and not be bothered by dogs. I think if he tried he could find many miles of the Meewasin Trail that is not an off-leash dog park. Maybe he should go there?

11 Votes
 
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Ron Zdan at July 14, 2017 at 5:28pm CDT

I totally disagree with the proposed changes to the Silverwood dog park. My reasons are as follow: - a reduction in the flat surface area of the dog park will make it difficult for seniors to exercise their dogs. The majority of the NEW PROPOSED AREA is extremely rugged topography and would only be of use to extremely fit and mobile people. The majority of individuals that I encounter in the park are elderly. - the change in park design appears to be for the use of cyclists who for the most part are not very courteous to those with dogs. They tend not to slow down when approaching people with dogs, provide no warning when approaching from behind you and almost all of them do not have a bell on their bikes (no wonder that there are collisions and confrontations). -I think that a lot of these issues resulted from poor planning by the City of Saskatoon. What should be done is obtain off-leash access for dog people through the idle piece of vacant land immediately to the north of north entrance to the dog park - this proposal in essence will make the off-leash park smaller than what it is, the exact opposite of what is required based on useage. - another problem by forcing people to use the river bank is that there will be more encounters with wildlife in particular coyotes (which are already a problem in this area). - Also, there appears to be no access to the S. Sask. river for our 4 legged friends. - the City Planning department really needs to reassess whose needs and benefits this area is to be used for, after all this is the only off-leash park in the north end of Saskatoon where approximately 50,000 people live as well as a significant number of pets. - The appropriate action should be to re-route cyclists around the dog park and educate those people who have issues with encountering dogs to go elsewhere. It is those people that are out to exercise their dogs that are being inconvenienced the most by this proposal. Is it the City of Saskatoon's Planning Department's objective to force people out of town in order to properly exercise their pets.......hmmmmm?

10 Votes
 
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Shelly Simons at July 14, 2017 at 6:35pm CDT

Survey does not work if you answer "no" to question 6. In order to submit survey you have to answer question 9, which asks you provide a reason why you answered "yes" to question 6.

4 Votes
 
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Shelly Simons at July 14, 2017 at 6:41pm CDT

Given that there is zero signage or information posted anywhere is the park, why is no map provided on either the City of Saskatoon or Shaping Saskatoon websites so that people who could not attend the Open House and did not receive notice in mail (apparently many, given comments at Open House) could see exactly what is being proposed? Definite lack of transparency and public consultation on this. Why?

7 Votes
 
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Mary Anderson at July 15, 2017 at 11:41am CDT

I completely disagree with the proposed changes. The reasons are- I walk my dog 12 months of the year. I see bikes on the path infrequently, and only during the summer months. Where is the logic to make changes to accomidate a smaller population of users who only use the path for a short portion of the year? Secondly bicyclists have many more options where they can ride their bikes. For the speed that a bicyclists travels the portion through the dog park is a very very short. They can slow down when they have to pass a person and their dog, this is only a small portion of the larder trail... And it's not a race to get through that small portion of the dog park. Also worth noting is how long the bicycle trail is significantly longer than the trails in the dog park! How about bicyclist have to walk their bikes through there, just like we have to have our dogs on a leash everywhere else! Lastly dog parks are very important not only for the health of our dogs but for the health of their owners to. I don't know how many time I've had amazing discussions with random people when I've been walking. Before I lived in the north end of the city I would drive up here during the muddy seasons just so that we could walk on paved trails. Please do not make these changes.

9 Votes
 
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Thomas Seto at July 16, 2017 at 2:42pm CDT

There are several reasons this is flawed. First of all, were any of the changes that have been proposed been championed by any dog owners? Feigning that this is for the safety of the dogs and to improve the experience for owners it severely misses the mark. Reducing the amount of available paved trail in one of the very limited spots in this city where dogs are available to be off leash for the benefit of “everyone” seems like it only factors in one side. There are already rules in place to allow for safe passage through this area. Cyclists specifically are to yield to dogs and slow to a walking pace. Those that do not want to deal with offleash dogs can simply stop, turn around, and avoid the area. The small few that may use the trail to get to the industrial area north of the park for work? Instead of diminishing the area for those it was intended for, can they just follow the already established rules to ensure safe passage through the park? Otherwise, can I get a discussion started on allowing my dog off leash in any of the other city owned parks? Considering the amount of available trail that my dog is required to be on leash (or not even allowed on- Univeristy Bridge to Broadway Bridge), why does this small pocket of space that is mostly used by dogs and their owners need to be put under scrutiny?

8 Votes
 
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Kelly Schlosser at July 17, 2017 at 11:11am CDT

My greatest concern is the speed of bikes on the trail. My dog has nearly been hit many times while on leash en route to the dog park. I have also witnessed people having to get out of the way of inconsiderate rad racers on the trail. . Bike racers in their full regalia continue to speed through the path expecting pedestrians and dogs to move out of their way. Fencing off the dog park as proposed is a win for the bikers and a loss for dog walkers. Will the new park be paved so people can continue to walk? I never see anyone walking their dog in the proposed area as there is no path for pedestrians. I want to walk my dog, not hike with him. This proposal needs to be reflected on by the city.

5 Votes
 
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Rebecca Boese at July 17, 2017 at 11:33am CDT

Fencing will Make the park smaller and less accessible for pet owners, it makes our city harder to own a dog and not keep them tied up in the back yard. There are countless parks that don't allow dogs even on leash let alone the city is already making plans for existing parks to become smaller and less accessible. Chief Whitecap park has already made the parking lot VERY small so on a busy day you drive out there and find no parking you either have to turn around and drive home or risk a parking ticket. The pet industry is only growing in Saskatoon yet the city is becoming very negative place to own a pet. Also why is the city spending money on these projects when we have none to spend? Maybe we could look into using this money on more important issues?

6 Votes
 
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Morgan Dong at July 17, 2017 at 2:56pm CDT

I cannot attend but I am opposed to the fence. I live in that area and I frequently walk there from my house and the fence there would prevent me from doing so. I never go past the proposed fenced off area other than to complete the loop that will be cut. The people that bike or walk there know it is a dog park. Bikers and non-dog walkers go to the Sutherland dog park and can share the walkways. Dogs have limited off-leash areas since they can't off-leash be in public parks.

4 Votes
 
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Glenn Stuart at July 17, 2017 at 9:22pm CDT

This whole thing really gives the impression that the city has already decided to make the changes, and doesn't really seem to be interested in public feedback. As was mentioned by Shelly the open house was not well advertised, nor is there any signage about the changes in the park. The survey is clearly designed to support the changes - as is well evidenced by the fact that you have to answer the question about why you support the changes in order to even submit the survey. Further, there is no mention anywhere on this website about just what the proposed changes are - the only information actually comes from the comments here. Really? The city can't even provide a map? It looks to me like this is a done deal; but on the slim chance that the comments here actually matter then I'm against the changes.

4 Votes
 
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Riley Thiesen at July 19, 2017 at 3:50pm CDT

In regards to Silverwood off leash dog park. Please do not make any changes to the park that would impact its size or access. It's one of the only areas of it's kind, where we can take our pooch that is also accessible to reduced mobility seniors. As a cyclist I have more than enough room all over the city to enjoy myself, including the relatively small off leash areas. Respectfully, Riley Thiesen

2 Votes
 
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STACEY THOMSON at July 19, 2017 at 5:26pm CDT

My husband and I heard about the meeting just the morning it was to be held - we made time in our schedule to attend and we felt it was very important since we knew nothing about the possible dog park changes until we chatted with a fellow dog walker that morning who informed us of the meeting that evening. My husband and I are very opposed to the changes outlined, including fencing off any area. We feel it would be a waste of tax payers money - since we already seem stretched and seeing cut backs every where. We have two Siberian Husky dogs, we use the park and trail 2-3x/day 12 months of the year. We don't often take our dogs off lease, but that is our preference. We enjoy seeing dog lovers and having our dogs interact with other dogs. We enjoy the paved trail and the scenery. We enjoy it ourselves as much as our dogs enjoy it. We both feel it would be a shame to implement a change to this park for the 'sake of change' as we don't feel any change needs to made at all.
The proposed off lease area is very steep and rugged inhabited by many many mosquitoes, we would simply not make use of this area at all. Please do not put up a fence!

2 Votes
 
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Tyler Bullin at July 23, 2017 at 7:11pm CDT

These new proposed changes will kill this park. They are destroying the accessibility of the park, leaving only a very small portion of paved trail for those with disabilities or even for those who just enjoy being able to let the dog explore as they walk around the circle. Most of the area that they are leaving is going to be unusable space. Cyclists and pedestrians of a 100 kms of other trail that they can use and enjoy. Dog owners have so little choice in this city.

1 Vote
 
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Kevin Dunbar at July 24, 2017 at 4:59pm CDT

It isn't fair to blame a pedestrian or cyclist for going though the dog park because the the MUP (multi user path) goes through the dog park. The city made the MUP through the dog park the primary route to access locations north and west of the dog park. No one is going through the dog park for fun, people use the path to get to something on the other side. It is also not fair to blame dog owners for wanting to have a place to have their dogs off leash especially without having cyclists going past.

This problem is the city's design of the path and park. This conflict is occurring because the city was cheap and/or lazy and used the same land for both the Meewasin Trail and the dog park. The conflict between users is exactly what would happen if a MUP was put across a soccer pitch. For cyclits/pedestrians trying to access the trail to Wanuskewin Heritage Park or get to a business in the Marquis Industrial area or get to any of the highways north of town the MUP through the dog park is the best route. Alot of people will not feel comfortable in bike lane along Wanuskewin Drive with cars going by at 70km/h and just getting in and out of that bike lane can be difficult.

A far better solution than the current setup of the cities proposed solution would for the city to have a usable, maintained and visible route around the dog park. I try to bypass the dog park when I can. I go up Adilman to the small park located on Adilman Dr. between Trotchie Cres and Zeman Cres, through the park and through the Silverwood Golf course parking lot and onto Kinnear Ave. However the route is unreliable, the gates into the Silverwood parking lot get closed especially in late fall winter and early spring. That route is also obscure, not many people are going to find it on their own. Since that route already exists why doesnt the city work on figuring how to keep that route useable. Figure out out how to keep the gates open and then put up some signs showing the route rather than messing with the dog park.

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0 Votes
 
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Kevin Dunbar at July 24, 2017 at 5:04pm CDT

If the city cannot make create a bypass around the dog park the proposed but in size to the dog park doesn't need to be as large as proposed. The least the city could do is be to leave the northern access to the exiting dog park as off leash (like in the attached image). Having the southern exit as on leash would allow people to go around the off leash the park and eliminate the problem the city is seeking to solve. The north exit is where most people who drive to the dog park are parking and accessing the park anyways. It is not an ideal solution but at least the cut to the dog park is 1/2 the size the city is proposing.

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Hayley Hesseln at July 24, 2017 at 10:06pm CDT

I'm absolutely against this plan from a variety of perspectives (see my op-ed in the Star Phoenix: http://thestarphoenix.com/opinion/letters/viewpoint-silverwood-off-leash-park-proposal-barking-up-wrong-tree?).

It's not clear why fencing/on-leash is being proposed when the majority of users are dog walkers. If people are not comfortable with dogs, they are free to walk/bike in an infinite number of locations. The plan and its purpose, how it's being rolled out (sneakily), and public consultation is woefully inadequate. Furthermore, the survey is biased in its questioning and allows for only favourable opinions (my research is based on survey analysis and this one violates most survey protocols).

Some other thoughts: - ALL dog owners should be notified of the plan through the licensing database because it's not just Silverwood residents that use this park. - The proposed fence is unnecessary given the precipitous decline on the "on-leash" side - what's the point of a fence other than to hamper nature (already disturbed by the paving and sanitizing of the natural ecosystem) - The cost unnecessary and prohibitive - The plan is ecologically/environmentally unsound (shouldn't the MVA know this?) - The proposed "new" area is not new and a measure of acres is false advertising - The "new" area is not adequate and is already used by bikers and hikers, which will result in further conflict (and likely a new plan to prohibit dogs altogether) - The remaining area is far too small - the City should be expanding this park, not eliminating it (the result of fencing)

I am tired of being marginalized and not heard as a dog owner/walker. I attended the City's meetings regarding the area by the Psych Centre years ago. The result? The majority was ignored and the City did as they pleased - prohibit off-leash users. The off-leash area at the end of 8th Street has since been drained, paved and destroyed. Chief Whitecap has been plowed and the plan is to prohibit off-leash in a big part of the park. What's next?

If you agree with my comments, or you are part of the planning for this proposal please get in touch (hayley.hesseln@gmail.com). I believe the majority should be heard this time around.

0 Votes
 
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Cliff Jessup at July 24, 2017 at 11:11pm CDT

The Meewasin Trail planners have made large sections of their land no dog zones . I'm dog & home owner so a city tax payer . This means that I'm paying for a trail I don't want. The Silverdale and Furdale areas were ideal dog areas with zero expense to the City, they will now be both ruined as Meewasin Trail expands. I have no faith in government employees to save these wild areas for dogs and their owners. The only recourse is to remember this next city election and make it an issue. We must appoint politicians who will do our bidding . The beaucrates must be terminated.

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