Council to consider changes for Eby Farmstead at Waterloo Park

The entrance to Waterloo City Centre. File

A report by staff planning the future of the Eby Farmstead at Waterloo Park will go before council on Monday, and it appears that the animals may soon disappear from the park.

The report recommends that council direct staff to discuss the future of the Eby Farmstead in the second quarter of 2024 as it looks to reimagine the entire park next year.

It notes that discussions surrounding the animals should take place in advance as it could be the most difficult area of the park to build a consensus upon.

While the report does not specially say the animals will leave the park, the final sentence says, ”staff will guide the engagement process to encourage the community to think about alternative uses for the land that provides value 12 months of the year, continues to offer free access to the space and is inclusive and accessible.”

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The report spells out a number of issues with having the animals at the park including the fact that they are not an accessible activity 12 months a year as they head to a farm for the winter months.

In addition, it notes that the animals do not get enough rest as they are accessible to the public 24 hours a day and the farmstead is located near the ION LRT line.

When the Eby Farmstead opened in the 1960s, it was home to wild animals including bears and cougars but it switched to domestic animals in the 1990s and is now home to nine animals, including two donkeys, one miniature horse, two alpacas, three llamas and an Appaloosa horse.

The donkeys, a llama and an alpaca are all getting long in the tooth, according to the report as well.

In addition, the report notes that there is little offered in the way of educational opportunities by the city in connection with the animals. Staff are not present full-time and there is not signage to offer any educational info about the animals.

The report says a number of alternative uses for the two acres the animals occupy that could be considered including covered picnic areas, a water play feature, a covered outdoor skating space, a skating trail, gardens, a small performance area, public washrooms or a community orchard.


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