Friends of River Park Connects With The City of Calgary

 

IMG_4243

Construction and development is in full swing at River Park. Since May, park users have raised many questions. Kathleen and Candice, members from the Friends of River Park leadership team connected with two representatives from The City of Calgary, the Project Manager and a Parks Community Strategist.

View details of the meeting on July 26, 2016.

2016 Newsletters

Lots of off-leash news to share each month! Please let us know if you have any suggestions for content. Ideas can be emailed to riverparkoffleash@gmail.com. Thanks for your consideration.

December 2016
November 2016
October 2016

September 2016
August 2016
July 2016

June 2016
May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016
January 2016

The River Park Fountain and Memorial Site

fountainAren’t we lucky to have a water fountain for people and dogs at River Park? It’s one of the great features that sets this off-leash area apart from others.

A bit of history… a water fountain first arrived at River Park in 2007 as part of a memorial site dedicated to Cathryn Margetts. Cat was the owner of one of the first known commercial dog walking/sitting services in Calgary. This remarkable woman tragically lost her life when she tried to save animals trapped inside her burning home. Cat’s family and friends organized three benches, trees and the fountain in the middle of River Park as a wonderful tribute to her. It is known as ‘Cat’s Park Within a Park’ and is one of the treasured focal points at River Park, drawing many locals and visitors year round. Please click here to learn more about Cat (includes link to her former  dog business).

The stone fountain was custom-made at the request of Cat’s family and friends. It was a gorgeous, unique park feature that dogs and people enjoyed immensely.  Unfortunately the fountain lasted less than one year. During its first winter it crumbled away from the elements and accumulation of urine from dogs. Candice Lee from the River Park Dogs leadership team reported this sad news to Cat’s family and The City of Calgary.

In 2008 it was replaced with an identical fountain but it quickly showed signs of deterioration as a result of the same reasons. Candice monitored and documented the decline. One day, she found the fountain had been vandalized. A large chunk from the front of the dog bowl was found lying just a few steps away from the fountain. Once again, she contacted Cat’s family to report the additional bad news.

Cat’s family set in motion the steps to find a suitable replacement, and shortly thereafter in 2010, a metal fountain was installed.

The metal fountain has stood up much better than its predecessors but in 2015, after five years, urine has taken its toll on the paint. At some point the access panel will need to be replaced.

How can you help?
Well we can’t do much about the weather. Members of the River Park Dogs leadership team cover the fountain during the winter. You can do your part during fair weather months. Here are some of the great ways to help:

Curb Behaviour
Don’t let your dog pee on the fountain. Often dogs urinate in the bowl and some dogs  lick the surface.

Safety & Consideration
Ensure healthy, pleasant experiences for people and dogs. Urine creates a strong odour and is unhygienic. 

Preservation
Reduce repair and prevent need for replacement. Urine strips the paint. Currently a large patch of paint on the access panel to the fountain has deteriorated from dog urine. Please note: When a replacement is required, it would be our fourth fountain. We have to be realistic and not assume we can even get one.

Respect
Honour this memorial site. It’s the right thing to do.

fountain

Poop Bags Supplies in River Park

Did you know… Our group periodically fundraises to supply ALL of the poop bags located in the green metal dispensers in River Park. Yes that’s right… bags are not organized or supplied by The City of Calgary!

Candice Lee from the Friends of River Park Leadership Team organizes fundraising, arranges the bag order, stores them at her house and fills the bag dispensers each day. If you find the bag dispenser is empty it means bag use was high that day or Candice is on holidays and couldn’t find anyone to fill in.

During the warm weather months (typically May through October) bag use increases to 9000 bags each month. It’s hard to believe that many people forget to bring a bag. The fact of the matter is some people rely on the bags as their personal supply.

Please help us reduce bag use in the park. Bags are not free. Fundraising is hard work and let’s be honest, not everyone contributes. Although the result is a clean park, the bags provided in the green metal dispensers are a BACK UP SYSTEM.

Off-leash History at River Park

Fortunately for dog enthusiasts, River Park gained off-leash status around 1987 as a result of Calgary Alderman Barb Scott, as she was a person with dog-related interests.

In 1987, Kate Currey, a local resident and dog person noticed fellow dog people were at times negligent about cleaning up after their dogs. She started a group of concerned dog people who began holding clean up efforts in the park.

Among Kate’s group of supporters was Candice Lee, a fellow dog person and local resident. Candice happened to have a large network of dog friends at River Park who gathered at various times for walks, supported clean ups and also socialized outside of the park. By the late 1990’s Candice’s group had grown to approximately 200 people.

In 2007 Candice learned about potential paving of trails and reduction of space affecting off-leash access in River Park. She discovered people from competing interest groups in the park had been meeting since 2006 about various matters. As the only dog representative, Candice was invited to the table early in 2007. As a result of this new direction, Candice’s group morphed into the Friends of River Park Society (FRPS) with an elected six-member leadership team. Followers grew to over 800 email addresses, representing single and multiple person households.

Meetings continued where competing interest groups expressed four main concerns:

  • Poor behaviour (dogs and their people)
  • Over-use (focus to reduce amount of dogs in the park)
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Feces left by negligent dog people

The FRPS leadership team immediately addressed concerns by educating fellow dog owners about competing interest groups’ concerns, influencing behaviour of people and dogs, and keeping the park clean. Candice’s group began clean-up efforts every second month throughout each year.