File photo                                Three members of the City of White Rock’s ‘Dogs on the Promenade Task Force’ have resigned, saying their concerns aren’t being heard.

File photo Three members of the City of White Rock’s ‘Dogs on the Promenade Task Force’ have resigned, saying their concerns aren’t being heard.

Three quit White Rock’s ‘Dogs on the Promenade’ task force

Former members call group ‘nothing more than a misguided, political partisan process’

Three members of the City of White Rock’s ‘Dogs on the Promenade Task Force’ have independently resigned, leaving the committee dominated by members who are in support of the Oct. 1 bylaw change.

Ron Kistritz, Beverly O’Malley and Thomas White – who were the only task force members opposed to allowing dogs on the popular waterfront walkway– each pulled out of the committee last month.

However, the chairman of the committee Coun. Scott Kristjanson said the parting members’ concerns will still be considered going forward.

“With the three opposed people gone, I mentioned to everybody that it’s our responsibility, and our duty, to continue to address their concerns. There’s a huge misconception that this thing is biased. I just want to point out that we are still proceeding as if they are still there, addressing their concerns,” Kristjanson said.

The former task force members contacted Peace Arch News this week to explain their reasons for leaving, because they’re “really concerned that our story is going to be spread on Facebook through rumour rather than get the real story out.”

They signed off on a press release that highlights their concerns. The members also provided PAN with their resignation letters.

“The city led initiative to allow dogs on the promenade is nothing more than a misguided, political partisan process, pandering to an entitled group of dog owners who are determined to get their way, with little regard to the public health and safety, and the environment,” the news release states.

RELATED: Dogs allowed on White Rock Promenade during off-season

Earlier this year, the city approved a “trial” project to allow dogs on the promenade from Oct. 1 2019 to March 31, 2020. Dogs will still be prohibited from the beach.

One of the major issues for O’Malley, which was echoed by other former task force members, was that they thought they were signing up to the task force to help design measurements for a trial – not to run a pilot project.

“If you look at all the literature and all of the motions, it was supposed to be a trial run to see if dogs on the promenade would work,” O’Malley said, who has experience with vaccine trials.

“We went in thinking that’s what it would be. We would do a trial, we would put the dogs on the promenade, we would design measures… and then we would recommend those measures to council. We would look at them and there would be a decision about the success or failure of having dogs on the promenade.

“As it turns out, that was not the plan.”

RELATED: Meeting over dogs on promenade divided

Kristjanson said it’s unfortunate that the three left, and “I think they felt frustrated that they weren’t being heard.”

“We used the term trial from the start but really, it was a pilot. (O’Malley) was frustrated that we weren’t going to be doing a trial, we were going to be doing a pilot project,” he said.

Kristjanson, and O’Malley agreed that there was a miscommunication.

In his resignation letter, Kistritz says he takes “great umbrage to such flippant comments” made by Kristjanson during the task force meetings.

Kistritz wrote that when he tried to share his risk-benefit assessment experience, his attempts to do so were disrespectfully interrupted, and his comments were repeatedly misconstrued as being off-topic, untimely and irrelevant.

“On several occasions, the chair would sarcastically refer to my study approach as the ‘million dollar clinical trial that no-one can afford,’” he wrote.

Kristjanson told PAN that during one of the task force meetings, “I think I shut down Ron too much.”

“I could have been more diplomatic. I was like ‘Ron, you’re not on task, lets stay on task’. I had to cut him off a couple of times and I think he took exception to that,” Kristjanson said.

Kristjanson said any allegation of him being biased towards allowing dogs on the promenade “couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Although he owns a dog, he said he has no desire to bring his pet to the waterfront.

RELATED: White Rock seeks input on dogs-on-promenade issue

One of the key issues for White, which he says made him come to realization that the task force was “greatly distorted and misdirected,” was when the group didn’t allow Semiahmoo First Nation a voting position on the task force.

SFN’s official policy on the matter, confirmed to PAN this week, is that no dogs should be allowed anywhere on the foreshore.

Kristjanson, who as chairman doesn’t get a vote on task force motions, said that he volunteered for the position. His goal, he said, was for each side of the discussion to be heard.

“I feel like I failed the no-dogs side because they didn’t feel heard.

“That’s unfortunate, because I was embracing everything they had to say,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council approves $420,570 in grants for local arts, culture groups

This happened at Monday night’s council meeting, to cover 2021

In September 2018, former Vancouver Canucks player Dave Babych tees off at Northview Golf & Country Club in Surrey during the 35th annual Jake Milford Charity Invitational tournament. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
No ‘shotguns’ or banquets: Surrey golf courses pitch COVID-safe tournaments for 2021

With spring on the way, course operators book tournaments that will involve ‘tweaks and adjustments’

Investigators placed dozens of yellow evidence markers on the ground near the site of a fatal shooting in Langley City early Wednesday morning. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: 22-year-old man killed in targeted shooting in Langley

South Surrey vehicle fire may be linked to homicide: police

Members of the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society picked up their new van from Mainland Ford in Surrey Wednesday (Jan. 27, 2021) after the society’s old van was stolen and damaged. (Submitted photo: Dylan Van Rooyen)
After thrift store van stolen and damaged, Surrey dealership helps out firefighters’ charitable society

The Community Thrift Store van was stolen in South Surrey in December

Surrey-raised actor Michael Coleman in some of the roles he’s played since the mid-1990s. (submitted photo)
Chat with Robin Williams helped send Surrey’s Coleman into world of acting

‘For me, it was a game-changer,’ says co-founder of Story Institute acting school

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

BC Place Stadium in a photo posted to cisc-icca.ca.
Roof of BC Place a stage for performers during online music festival

‘This will be the first time any artists have performed from the 204-foot iconic Vancouver rooftop’

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Driver crashes vehicle twice in one day near Princeton

Abbotsford woman, 29, wasn’t injured in either incident

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Most Read