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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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21 Responses

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Larry Scott 4 months ago

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?

13 Votes
 
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Ron Zdan 4 months ago

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?

14 Votes
 
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Shelly Simons 4 months ago

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.

6 Votes
 
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Shelly Simons 4 months ago

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?

9 Votes
 
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Mary Anderson 4 months ago

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.

12 Votes
 
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Thomas Seto 4 months ago

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?

10 Votes
 
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Kelly Schlosser 4 months ago

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.

7 Votes
 
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Rebecca Boese 4 months ago

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?

8 Votes
 
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Morgan Dong 4 months ago

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.

5 Votes
 
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Glenn Stuart 4 months ago

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.

6 Votes
 
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Riley Thiesen 4 months ago

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

4 Votes
 
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STACEY THOMSON 4 months ago

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!

4 Votes
 
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Tyler Bullin 4 months ago

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.

3 Votes
 
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Kevin Dunbar 4 months ago

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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1 Vote
 
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Kevin Dunbar 4 months ago

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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0 Votes
 
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Hayley Hesseln 4 months ago

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.

2 Votes
 
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Cliff Jessup 4 months ago

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.

2 Votes
 
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Debbie Doucette 4 months ago

I am a dog owner and regular user of the Silverwood off-leash park.
I am disappointed that the City of Saskatoon is considering changes to the park - and I agree with previous comments that this appears to be a "done deal". The Survey certainly leaves that impression. It would also be interesting to know what set this plan in motion?
In my opinion, the proposed/planned changes will definitely have a negative effect for the following reasons: 1. This dog park is unique in that it provides access to paved walkways for seniors, persons with disabilities, parents with carriages/strollers, and anyone else with mobility issues to walk their dog off-leash. The paved walkways are maintained and cleared in the winter as well. The proposed off-leash area is steep, hilly terrain and will be inaccessible to the aforementioned groups. I have used this dog park to walk my dog off-leash specifically for this reason. Persons without dogs can use virtually any park and/or paved walkway in the city, and are not restricted to this one. 2. The fence will obstruct the clear view/sightline of the river from the walkways. This is a beautiful park. The fence will be a garbage-collecting eyesore. 3. The safety of individuals walking with off-leash dogs, and of the dogs themselves, will be compromised by the fence. It is well known that this area is frequented by coyotes - if walkers/dogs encounter coyotes or other wildlife on the river side of the fence, it will be difficult to leave the area quickly if there is not a gate nearby.
4. Cost - does the City/Meewasin Valley Authority really need to spend money on a fence that isn't needed? What is the projected cost of this fence?

Walkers/bikers/skateboarders can use virtually any park with paved walkways in the City for their enjoyment and are not restricted to this one. Individuals in those groups who are uncomfortable with off-leash dogs have other options - including virtually miles of paved walkways along the riverbank. I would encourage the City to give serious consideration to leaving this park as is to continue to provide off-leash dog walkers with mobility impairment/restrictions access to a safe, paved, flat and snow-free surface.

1 Vote
 
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Shelly Simons 4 months ago

The City of Saskatoon is proposing major changes to this recreation area, effectively reducing the usable off-leash pathways by approximately 80% and relegating the off-leash area to a fenced and gated section of land that is predominantly steep slope and dense vegetation. This area will be fenced on three sides, leaving the river side open for wildlife to enter the fenced area. This park is used 12 months of the year by dog owners from throughout Saskatoon and is the only dog park in the city that is fully accessible to people with mobility issues and their dogs, with almost 2 kilometres of paved pathways.

The City has already budgeted the money to make these changes and construction is slated to start in 2018, even though the MVA has yet to release their plans for the area, no usage study has been conducted for the park, and most importantly, no information regarding this project has been posted anywhere in the SDP to inform users of the proposed changes and allow them the opportunity to provide feedback. The only public consultation that has taken place was a poorly advertised Open House held at the Rusty Macdonald Library, originally scheduled for June 15 but postponed that day to July 12, a time of year when many residents are away on vacation and unable to attend. The City did send out Open House notices via Canada Post but apparently to select households only, as many people that attended the Open House indicated they received no notice and only heard about the meeting through word of mouth. Again, no notification of this Open House was posted in the SDP, where the people directly affected by these changes might see it. If you missed the Open House and went to the Shaping Saskatoon website, it did not even provide enough information on the project for you to form an opinion. A graphic of the changes proposed for the area was finally posted to the website on July 17 but that is the extent of any details offered. The website also offers a survey on the proposed changes, but the survey is defective and despite many complaints, has yet to be fixed. The survey only allows you to submit the form if you agree with the proposed changes (if you answered “No” to Question 6, the form would only submit if you provided reasons why you answered “Yes” to that question). The deadline for feedback for this project which has been neither advertised nor promoted to the actual users of SDP is July 31.

On other projects where the City is proposing major changes, large signs with graphics are erected in the affected areas to explain the proposed changes so that residents can provide informed comments and feedback to City Hall. The lack of transparency involved with this project is alarming. I use the SDP almost every day and the only reason I knew that anything was happening was because a stranger approached me at the park on June 15 to warn me that the Open House scheduled for that night had been postponed. I had no idea what she was talking about, but went online to the City of Saskatoon website to find more information, which was sadly lacking, and in fact still indicated that the Open House was taking place that night. I am not an activist and have never written a letter to City Hall before but the speed with which this project is proceeding, and the fact that it is being done in relative secrecy with no real public consultation needs to be addressed immediately before any further steps are taken. 

There are literally hundreds of kilometres of paved roads, bike lanes, trails, and sidewalks in Saskatoon that cyclists and pedestrians can use “safely” without the presence of off-leash dogs and in some of these areas, even leashed dogs are banned. Given its unique qualities, spending scarce city funds to eviscerate the SDP to add a few more kilometres for these groups use at the expense of tax paying dog owners from across the City is unconscionable. As I stated previously, I use the SDP most days of the year, and have never seen any indication that the area is “broken” and requires fixing. If people have indeed been complaining about off-leash dogs being in the off-leash park, as was stated at the Open House, perhaps money would be better spent on more signage in the SDP to educate users that they should expect to encounter dogs in dog parks, and explain the concept of respect and the use of a shared pathway. Imposing, posting, and enforcing speed limits in off-leash dog parks (just like we do to accommodate children in School Zones), and actually enforcing bylaws for cyclists (including other users on wheels) and owners of aggressive dogs would also go a long way to ameliorate perceived problems. If this project proceeds as proposed, the City of Saskatoon will be losing a unique, and to some, invaluable recreation area, and gaining in effect nothing, except bad will.
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Candice Yeudall 4 months ago

I do not understand why the city is doing this they have already reduced the available area out there as business went up. The paved paths are god sends for the much of the year as it allows you to go out when you normally could not. I do NOT understand why they feel the need to put up fences and reduce access. I have spent 1000s of hours out there over the years and only rarely do you encounter bikers and walkers who have a problem with off leash dogs there. As others have said it also looks like you have cutoff access to the river, what are you thinking that is one of the major draws for people to take their dogs out there in the summer. Please stop destroying good things for many to try and please a few for will not even use it. A bypass has been suggested that would be the best, but don't kill the park and the pleasure people get out of it.

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Larraine Ratzlaff 4 months ago

I don't want to repeat the excellent comments made by several of the posters. What I do want to add are the following: Why is there already a plan for construction? Who was consulted and why is it entirely in favour of the cyclists? I have yet to meet a pedestrians that was concerned about my dogs. By removing our pets from the pathway, we are simply opening the speedway for the cyclists, boarders, and bladers even more. And, I'm not sure who looked at the land that is going to be available for the off-leash. Unless some major re-design is part of this, the off-leash area is hardly usable (now). Furthermore, the City is claiming safety as the reason for the change. How are parents with toddlers, elderly pedestrians, people with disabilities and others who walk slowly, going to be more safe? The reason dogs owners are frustrated is because some cyclists, teams of roller-bladers and others have taken to going full out on the pathway - with no concern for anyone, not just dogs/dog owners. All our MVA pathways are shared and are not intended for speed. I never mind moving off the path if a courteous cyclist (with a bell) can alert me from behind. I would do the same for a person in a wheelchair or a jogger pulling a child in a wheeled-stroller. I am so disappointed that the city has chosen to cater to one group that has many other options available to them. This was not a transparent process and I'm surprised that the MVA is putting it's meagre resources into this and that Mayor Clark supports this. I strongly urge the City to reconsider and to actually consult with dog owners at the park. It might serve everyone well, if there were signs to remind people that it is not a speedway - it's for the community to share (whether off leash or on leash). No pathway inside the city is meant for speed. That's what keeps everyone safe.

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