Mixed reaction after first couple days of dogs on White Rock promenade

Mixed reaction after first couple days of dogs on White Rock promenade

Dogs allowed to walk promenade from Oct. 1 to March 31

While some people are wagging their tails, others are growling after the first couple days of dogs being allowed on White Rock’s Promenade.

Aside from one incident of a dog being spotted on the pier, which is prohibited, Coun. Scott Kristjanson said the start of the pilot has been “very smooth.”

“On social media, I’ve seen nothing but happy people,” Kristjanson told Peace Arch News Wednesday. “It seems like a very positive experience.”

However, White Rock photographer Ric Wallace had a different perspective on how the first couple of days went.

Wallace has been a vocal opponent of allowing dogs on the promenade. Since February, he has, on a number of occasions, sent photographs of dog feces to Peace Arch News and city council, expressing his frustration over the pilot project.

Wallace said he’s not happy after the second day of the pilot project.

“I have seen dogs off-leash, which is against what the sign’s saying, and I’ve seen people leaving dog crap and not picking it up,” Wallace said, when asked to share his impressions of pilot’s first two days.

“No one on council has ever talked to the artists (on the beach) concerning this. Any email that I’ve sent to city hall, people on council have never responded.”

Earlier this year, the city approved a trial program to permit dogs on the promenade during the off-season, and a ‘Dogs on the Promenade Task Force’ was formed to determine how best to assess the level of success of the trial.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Dogs allowed on White Rock Promenade during off-season

Council is to review the details of the pilot and determine next steps in spring 2020, according to a city-issued news release.

Earlier this year, three members of that task force resigned, and left the committee dominated by members who are in support of the Oct. 1 bylaw change.

The parting members told PAN that the task force has “little regard to the public health and safety, and the environment.”

Kristjanson told PAN Wednesday that he has received some emails from people who were worried about what’s going to happen as a result of the pilot project.

“We’ve been listening to them in the task force for several sessions, captured all of their concerns and passed recommendations to council that address most of those. I think we’re in good shape right now,” Kristjanson said.

City council received 24 recommendations from the task force, and four were approved.

Recommendations approved included to direct staff to create a “Good Dog Etiquette Brochure”; to direct staff to re-visit the city’s current brochure regarding proper pet etiquette and licensing; compare E. coli levels before and after the pilot project; and direct staff to work with the task force to develop a survey for White Rock businesses to determine their feelings with respect to business impact.

Tuesday morning, the city installed disposal bags for dog owners, and replaced signage along the promenade.

Dogs are allowed in Memorial Park year-round.