A dog running off-leash

The 10 year Dogs in Public Spaces review will develop strategic direction and park management instructions to provide sustainable and safe off-leash opportunities.

With an increasing population of dogs in cities, there is growing demand for municipalities to accommodate residents and their dogs in public places and provide sustainable and safe off-leash opportunities.

Currently there are over 40 Dogs Off-Leash sites within the City of Edmonton. The City's initial guidelines for dogs off-leash were created in the 1990s, and over the years most off-leash areas have been created as a result of requests from community groups or citizens.

The Dogs in Open Spaces Strategy created guidelines to help shape and update the City of Edmonton’s current planning, design and management practices regarding off leash areas. Public consultation will occur with changes to current parks or the planning of future parks.

Upon approval of the Strategy, the off leash project team began to develop the
Dogs in Open Spaces 10 Year Implementation Plan.

Project Overview

The Dogs in Open Spaces Strategy identifies a number of recommendations and best practices that will be used to update the City of Edmonton’s current dog off leash guidelines and programs. Public engagement and consultation with City of Edmonton staff and other stakeholders played a prominent role in shaping the direction of this Strategy.

Strategy Recommendations

  • Planning recommendations include access and parking, site uses, types of off-leash areas and funding
  • Design recommendations include boundaries, amenities, environmental protection, winter considerations, waste management, vegetation and public health and safety
  • Management recommendations include best practices for general maintenance, education and communications, community stewardship, enforcement and monitoring
  • The City of Edmonton will consider recommendations from the Dogs in Open Spaces Strategy when planning, designing and managing current and future off-leash sites

Goals of the Implementation Plan

  • Smart planning, design and management of off leash areas that take into account user experience, safety and environmental sensitivities
  • Better adoption of rules and bylaws by users through education and enforcement
  • Increased safety for people and dogs in off-leash and adjacent areas
  • Establishing new off-leash areas in Edmonton where the need is identified
  • Processes for establishing and decommissioning off-leash areas
  • Increased educational opportunities in off-leash areas, as well as enhancing the volunteer stewardship program that currently exists
  • Established a base level of amenities for off-leash areas, and develop a cost sharing model for community groups interested in enhancing off-leash areas with additional amenities