Staff begin review of Parks Bylaw, off-leash areas

Medicine Hat – City staff are in the early stages of reviewing Parks Bylaw #2527, as well as all off-leash dog areas throughout the city.

“With the recent adoption of the Parks & Recreation Master Plan we are focusing efforts to progress priorities identified during that process,” said Scott Richter, acting Recreation Manager and Business & Innovation Manager for the Parks and Recreation Department.  “One of the major concerns we identified was trail safety, and our off-leash areas review is just one way we are hoping to make improvements.”

The City’s extensive trail system and parks spaces were highlighted as valued amenities often used by many in the community.  With an increase in trail usage in recent years, the issue of trail safety has become more apparent for a wide variety of users.

“Our intention is to make sure that everyone feels safe when using our pathways. This includes anyone who accesses our trails - runners, walkers, cyclists, families with young children, those with a disability, as well as dogs and their owners,” said Dave Young, Special Projects Manager with the City of Medicine Hat.

The first draft of Bylaw #2527 was written in 1987 and hasn’t seen any major updates or amendments since 1999.

“We know a lot has changed in the last 23 years and now is a great time to look at how we want people accessing and using our parks and recreation spaces,” said Richter.

City staff will develop a new draft bylaw, which will look to incorporate activities and policies around natural area protection, waterfront development and greater use of the South Saskatchewan River, the river valley, and trending and emerging uses of park and natural spaces.

As part of the review, staff and consultants will also look to evaluate potential sites for additional fenced off-leash areas, and appropriate on-leash and off-leash locations.

Opportunities for the public to engage on both projects will be announced later this month.

Information on our parks, as well as our dog parks can be found on the City website.

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