Compromise on White Rock dog ban for Pooch Parade

Pooch Parade organizer Winston Conyers speaks at a Jan. 23 council meeting. - Dan Ferguson photo
Pooch Parade organizer Winston Conyers speaks at a Jan. 23 council meeting.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson photo

White Rock council refused last month to lift a ban against dogs on the promenade for the Pooch Parade on the Peninsula fundraiser by the Rotary Club of White Rock Peninsula.

But the dogs will get access to the beach under a compromise proposal that will see the April 22 event staged near, but not on, the promenade.

The deal was struck after event organizer Winston Conyers lobbied council to temporarily lift the bylaw that forbids dogs from walking on the promenade.

“What we’re looking for is an exception to the rule,” said Conyers, secretary of the local Rotary club.

Conyers said allowing dog owners to walk their pets along the beachfront walkway from the far end of West Beach to the end of East Beach would allow increased attendance from the 65 dogs last year to an estimated 300 this year. Not, he was careful to add, all at one time and in one place; dogs and their owners would trickle through the area over several hours.

“It’s a warm, community event,” Conyers said. “A fun, family event.”

The fundraiser was created to support proposed improvements to the South Surrey Athletic Park and other local Rotary projects, as well as assisting the Semiahmoo Animal League Inc.

The Rotary club had applied for permission to use the promenade last year and was turned down, forcing them to hold the event at South Surrey Athletic Park.

Rather than setting a potentially troublesome precedent by abandoning the no-dog bylaw for a day, Coun. Larry Robinson suggested a compromise, saying the event could be held west of Oxford Street on an area south of the tracks where dogs are already allowed.

“There’s a strip of grass there, only used by seagulls and geese,” Robinson said Jan. 23.

It is not on the promenade at all, he noted.

“Is that going to work for you?” Mayor Wayne Baldwin asked of Conyers.

“Sure,” a disappointed Conyers said. “OK.”

“It’s not what you were asking for, but it’s a reasonable compromise,” the mayor added.

The rest of council agreed.

“That’s a pretty big move from ‘no,’” Coun. Alan Campbell said.

“I would take it and run like mad,” said Coun. Mary-Wade Anderson.


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