Gatineau provides an update on plans for Canine Exercise Areas
On September 14, the Commission des Loisirs, des Sports et du Développement Communautaire of the City of Gatineau presented updates on the regulations concerning neighborhood dog parks and canine exercise areas to the Municipal council. This presentation aimed to present the plans for the canine exercise areas at Parc Jardins-Lavigne, Parc de la Technologie in Hull, Parc du Lac-Beauchamp and Parc Lamarche.
Previously in March of 2020 new by-law regulations were put in place with the aim of protecting individuals by creating fenced dog parks. In June, a mandate was received to transform the level of service for dog owners. Then, in February 2021, the administration received a mandate to modify the level of service for dog owners while considering the by-laws to protect individuals by creating enclosed dog parks. In April 2021, a presentation was made to the municipal council with revised level of service for dog owners as well as a proposition for regulating the dog parks outside of service level.
The provincial laws and regulations, in place since March of 2020, state that in a public area dogs must be under control of someone able to handle them, at all times. The only exception to this by-law is in dog parks and during canine specific events. The maximum length of a leash is 1.85 meters and dogs over 20kg must always wear a muzzle or harness attached to the leash. Additionally, is it possible for a municipality to put in place more strict regulations but cannot do the opposite. Due to these laws a modification to the existing laws concerning unfenced dog parks is needed.
The levels of service were modified to the following: Level 1 are municipal parks, where dogs are permitted on a leash as indicated by the city. Level 2 are neighborhood off-leash parks where there is an enclosed area between 500 to 1000m² that permit dogs off leashes. Finally, level 3 canine exercise area (AEC) parks with a fenced area of 3000 to 4000 m² where dogs are permitted off leash.
Neighborhood dog parks must have a fence measuring 1.5 meters. It must be located between 25 and 20 meters from residences, 10 meters from playgrounds with an entrance at least 25 meters away from the playground.
For the Parc Jardins-Lavigne, the preliminary plans presented included a fenced area of 36,602 m² with two entrances, garbage cans and an entrance for park maintenance. This would cost $97,000. The plans for the Parc de la Technologie in hull include a fenced area of 30,000m² with an entrance, garbage can and an entrance for maintenance. Maintenance of the field and forest outside of the dog park will take place to allow for continued access for dogs on a leash. The estimated cost for this park is $79,000. The third park, Parc du Lac-Beauchamp, would be a 19,320m² fenced area due to environmental and physical obstacles in the area. One entrance, garbage can, and maintenance entrance will be included, and the surrounding field will be
maintained to preserve access to the park for neighborhood residents. The estimated cost for Parc du Lac-Beauchamp is $77,000.
The original budget for the plans was 300,000$ coming from La Réserve revenues reportés - Frais de croissance. After revising the plans for the park, the estimated budget to complete all the parks is $373,000. The budget includes the fencing and construction of dog parks as well as signs for all parks and communications campaigns.
The executive committee recommends authorizing the treasurer to use up an additional amount of $ 73,000 from the reported income, associated with the contributions of the development promoters, to finance the development of the off-level canine sites and the communication plan.
Geneviève D’Amours, the acting director of the Commission des Loisirs, des Sports et du Développement Communautaire says the next step would be to Call for tenders in September 2021 after the plans for the project are complete. It is estimated that the fence installations would begin in November 2021 depending on the company's availability.
The vote to implement the recommendations will take place at a later date.