This October, myself and members of the Garneau & adjoining Community Leagues had the opportunity to celebrate the opening of the Braithwaite Dog Park (80th Ave and 112st). You are invited to come check it out, with or without a dog!
For decades this under-utilized green space has not lived up to its full potential, and at times has been a site of concern. However, thanks to advocacy of residents, as part of the neighbourhood renewal program, a new off-leash, fenced dog park will provide opportunities for the hundreds of apartment-dwelling dogs and their humans to meet their neighbours, build community, and activate a new space while safely keeping dogs of the way out of traffic and separate from other park attendees.
At this time, I don't own a dog myself, but my family have loved this recent addition and my children have enjoyed many games of fetch.
In alignment with the Edmonton City Plan, along 112st and Whyte ave, thousands of new apartments are under construction or slated for development. This off-leash area will be a magnet for thousands of new residents in the area, and students and staff at the University of Alberta and the U of A hospital -- many of whom do not have yards.
During the municipal election, I suggested that we could make Edmonton the most dog-friendly city in Canada. These small capital projects such as safe off-leash dog parks help to attract new residents, talent, and capital investment to Edmonton.
The cost of the park is no more than a few meters of road in the grand scheme of the city budget. But For many residents, they will visit this dog park twice a day-- more frequently than a local library or rec centre - as they take their dog out for exercise.
Recognizing our tight city budget, the financial cost is minimal, but the social payback is exponential. It's a small investment on the part of the City of Edmonton, but as our city densifies, these kinds of new amenities are a must-have. Park visitors offer eyes on the street, improving safety, provide new opportunities for friendship, and, especially for new students and staff at the University of Alberta, can help people feel a sense of belonging in their neighbourhood and in Edmonton. Visitors can easily walk or wheel to this park, reducing our carbon footprint and supporting the many fantastic cafes and shops in the area.
I look forward to working with Mayor Sohi and my colleagues to build many more across Edmonton. Please reach out to myself and your local community league: what small-scale improvements can we collaborate on together? [email protected]
- Ward papastew City Councillor Michael Janz