July 2, 2018 7:00 am
Updated: July 2, 2018 10:01 pm

Edmonton group wants to convert outdoor ice rinks into summer dog parks

WATCH ABOVE: Many of Edmonton's outdoor ice rinks sit empty during the summer but the city is looking to change that. As Kim Smith reports, it's considering converting outdoor rinks into dog parks for the season.

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Since they’re not being used for skating during the summer, a City of Edmonton program is hoping to see outdoor rinks converted to dog parks during the hot months.

The Dogs Off Leash program is hoping city council approves a proposal that would provide funding to community leagues, so they can operate off-leash dog sites inside the boards of the rinks.

READ MORE: More off-leash dog parks needed in select Edmonton neighbourhoods: researchers

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Coordinator Amanda Brown says they’ve heard reports of dogs off their leashes in playgrounds, sports fields and school grounds, which is illegal.

“Obviously, there’s a need in the community for more spaces to safely exercise dogs,” Brown said.

“With so many ice rinks throughout the city that are boarded, a bit more secure, and almost every neighbourhood has one, it’s a great opportunity to open up the bounds of where people can exercise their dogs.”

READ MORE: Dogs on deck: 2 eateries just off Whyte Avenue open their patios to dogs

She explains that since the rinks are boarded, the dogs can exercise freely while being contained inside the rink.

Brown says not every rink would qualify because a lot of the community league rinks have hard foundations or are being used for other sports.

“A lot of the community league rinks actually have concrete bases which wouldn’t really work out for drainage,” she said. “Other leagues actually rent it out for soccer tournaments, things like that.

“We want to make sure if it is being used for off-leash, that it’s an appropriate use and that it’s sort of a single use as well.”

Brown says similar pilot projects have received positive receptions in Strathcona County and St. Albert.

READ MORE: Off-leash area in Edmonton’s Grand Trunk dog park to be fenced by city

“It’s really important that if residents live in an area where they think this might be a great use of the rink, they talk to their league about the potential,” she said.

Brown says any community leagues considering this idea should get in touch with their neighbourhood resource coordinator to discuss the process.

— With files from 630 CHED 

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