Design Dog Park project group asked for a meeting with the project manager Armi Koskela from Public Works Department and the quality controller Ritva Keko. They graciously agreed to come.
When we met, we covered many angles on the realisation possibilities of the dog park and discussed the dog enclosure in general. Many important points came up, and again we got a better idea of what would be feasible. Below, I try to list the most important points using the memo from the meeting.
- Public Works Department representatives emphasised the fact that the city always has responsibility for the areas it owns, and safety and ease of upkeep are therefore important in all planning and design. There have been some unfortunate accidents in the dog enclosures and the city has been held responsible.
- In matters concerning dog parks, Public Works Department (PWD) discusses the solutions with the spokesperson of Helsinki Region Kennels Union alongside with other experts. Gammel Dogs should co-operate with the union.
- At the PWD, people are thinking of how to make the gates and fences of dog enclosures safer, how to make the lighting better, what kind of pee posts could be made, what kind of vegetation should be favoured (it has to be possible to shield the plants), what surface material and base would serve the purpose the best (yes for underdrainage, no for depressions that gather water), what would be the best way to light the notice board. Could the Design Dog Park rise to these challenges?
- (According to the information given by Virpi Vertainen) Armi Koskela has said that the Pornaistenniemi dog enclosure has been budgeted for the year 2012. However, the realisation of the park depends on how the alteration of the town plan fares. At PWD, Jouni Sivonen is responsible for having the initiative planned and constructed. IF the alteration proceeds this year, the plans for the enclosure will also be done this year (2011) and the enclosure itself constructed next year. PWD regional planner Virpi Vertainen is well informed of the natural conditions in Pornaistenniemi and the location of the dog enclosure. The location has been used for waste disposal, so it is possible that the soil will need to be replaced. When the dog enclosure has been planned, it takes approximately two months before the committee takes it up. The committee phase takes 1–2 months.
- Gammel Dogs Association is given the opportunity to take part in the planning process for the dog park. PWD consultant makes most of the planning. Investment office can tell us when the consultant will be chosen. The Public Works Committee will, we hope, approve the plan. Often the approval is withheld due to expenses.
- The additional elements for Design Dog Park won’t be acquired from the city, and the city won’t chip in the expenses. We need to make contracts with our partners and get them committed to maintaining these elements. Even though Ms. Koskela and Ms. Keko didn’t deem it compulsory, it might be good if the additional elements were separate from the enclosure itself. Safety issues are nevertheless the reason for the PWD to object to the idea of a myriad of additional elements. The elements in the enclosure or in its vicinity must be planned carefully (what and where).
- Gammel Dogs Association can keep up the talks with potential sponsors. From the PWD point of view, it would be great if we found a sponsor for, say, a year. It would also be necessary to establish a longer co-operation period with Gammel Dogs Association. The city has an irrevocable authority over its territory and it can revoke a sponsor agreement, if a sponsor doesn’t delivery on his promises. According to Ritva Keko, the PWD takes a favourable view on sponsors, because their help and funds enable the development of new things. The city can’t accept money from the sponsors, however, goods and work are allowed.
- If there will be sponsor events, for example, that are held in the Design dog park, they have to be free and open to everyone. It would also be preferable that the events would promote dog discipline and remind the dog owners of the responsibility they have. We need to check with PWD public information officer Marja von Knorring if there is a company image-related obstacle for naming the Design Dog Park after a commercial partner.
- The product and service policy of dog enclosures has been made using Pia Bäcklund’s report on dog enclosures. The policies are about to be updated and specified. The policy on the street/park furniture is a separate entity and can be read (in Finnish) here.
Based on these facts we will now contact potential partners and the Kennels Union.
We continue with the initiative with our hopes up!
Gammel Dogs Association / Anna Vaihia
Translation by Pigasus Translations.