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Winkler Dog Park gets location

Greg Vandermeulen

Michelle Goertzen with Queenie, Martha Olfert with Huey, and Trudy Thiessen with Rouge.

Michelle Goertzen with Queenie, Martha Olfert with Huey, and Trudy Thiessen with Rouge.

WINKLER - 

A gift of land from the City of Winkler has set plans in motion for the community’s first dog park.
Committee member Martha Olfert said they have roughly 3,000 square metres set aside near the city’s water plant for use as a dog park.
“Last year we attempted to start a dog park but we didn’t get a location that we could use,” Olfert explained. “The city suggested this place this year and we jumped on it.”
Although currently the space is simply a lawn with surveyor stakes marking the corners, committee members such as Martha Olfert, Michelle Goertzen and Trudy Thiessen didn’t have trouble seeing the potential.
Chain link fencing, trees for shade and a few benches will help the transition.
To accomplish that goal the group is looking at hosting fundraisers, including one big one in May, although details have yet to be worked out.
“Whatever it takes to raise the money,” Olfert said.
The group isn’t sure exactly how many dog owners there are in Winkler, and they urge them to license their dogs so the City of Winkler also realizes the true numbers.
“I would really encourage everyone in this city to register their dogs,” Olfert said. “It’s  one time only (in a dog’s lifetime), it’s not a yearly fee anymore.”
The group also plans to set up a Dog Park account at Access Credit Union, and share their plans on a Facebook page called Winkler Dog Park.
Currently with close to 50 members, organizers encourage other dog owners to join and get involved.
“We definitely need more people to help out,” Olfert said. “Wherever they want to plug in we definitely could use help for sure.”
Olfert said they’re pleased to be at this stage. “It’s exciting for us to have a place where dogs can be loose, off leash,” she said. “Morden has a dog park and I know some Winkler people will go to Morden to let their dogs off leash.”
The group hopes to see their park up and running as early as summer this year.
Committee members can picture what they want the park to look like.
Michelle Goertzen can picture a family space.
“That’s what I want to see, families out running their dogs,” she said.
Trudy Thiessen said a pathway to the park would be nice in the future, and added that the park is also good for dogs, not just owners.
“It helps them to socialize,” she said. “When you’re out for walks they can’t really do that. There’s no room for them to run and play.”
For more information check out Winkler Dog Park on Facebook and message the group, or call Martha at 204-312-0483 or Trudy at 204-332-0075.