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July 4, 2007
People, dogs and parks reports endorsed by Parks and Environment Committee
  
At today’s meeting of the City’s Parks and Environment Committee, committee members endorsed two reports presented by the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division related to people, parks and dogs. Committee members made a number of minor amendments to the two reports, which pertain to the provision of off-leash areas and the permitting of commercial dog-walkers, respectively. The reports will now be referred on to City Council for approval at its meeting of July 16, 17 and 18.

The reports follow a recent public consultation process in which approximately 725 individuals participated. “We learned a great deal from the consultation process,” said Committee chair, Councillor Paula Fletcher. “Foremost is that responsible pet ownership is the pillar of any good policy related to people, dogs and parks. This is a very positive step forward for all park users.”

The off-leash areas report proposes specific location criteria for designated off-leash areas, outlines a process for community involvement, education, dog licensing, communication, and calls for increased by-law enforcement. It also provides a procedure to grand-parent existing off-leash areas that are working well, and to address those areas where there have been on-going issues and complaints.

The goal of the commercial dog-walker policy is to help ensure the safety and enjoyment of all park users by managing and monitoring the activities of commercial dog-walkers who use the City’s parks system to conduct their business. The report proposes that commercial dog-walkers who walk between four and six dogs at one time be required to ensure dogs are licensed, obtain a permit and pay an annual fee, the proceeds of which will be used for program administration and parks infrastructure.

“The proposed policies will help to balance the needs and find common ground amongst all park users,” said Brenda Librecz, General Manager of Toronto Parks, Forestry and ecreation. “Responsible dog ownership, community involvement and by-law enforcement are the key foundations of both policy documents.”

Bill Bruce, Director of Animal Services and By-law Enforcement for the City of Calgary, also addressed the members of the Parks and Environment Committee at today’s meeting. Mr. Bruce provided insight into the success of the more than 140 off-leash areas that operate in the City of Calgary with the support and guidance of 56 enforcement officers with “Special Constable” status.

“Enforcement includes the broader goal of achieving and maintaining compliance to by-laws using tools such as understandable by-laws, policies, partnerships, conflict resolution techniques, and public education,” offered Mr. Bruce. “The policies proposed by Parks, Forestry and Recreation will help the City of Toronto and its residents to achieve these outcomes.” Visit our website at http://www.toronto.ca

The issues around people, dogs and parks have proven to be very topical with many Torontonians. More than 30 deputants addressed committee members today. “The interest in this subject really speaks to the passion Torontonians have for their parks system,” said Councillor Fletcher. “I am very pleased with both the interest Torontonians have demonstrated regarding this issue, and the outcome of today’s meeting.”

If approved by City Council, implementation of both policies will be phased-in, with initial phases beginning immediately.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Wynna Brown, General Manager’s Office, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, 416-397-4059 or 416-662-8744 (cell)


 

 

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