Going walkies in White Rock

Editor:

Re: City dog restrictions ‘take bite out of business, Dec. 1.

Editor:

Re: City dog restrictions ‘take bite out of business, Dec. 1.

Mike Armstrong and his Dog Owner’s Group are lobbying for the right to walk their dogs along the White Rock promenade.

I, for one, love to walk the promenade for two reasons: One, the scenery is amazing and ever‑changing; two, I am able to walk with my head up, and not feel the need to watch every step I take.

It is so nice to be able to walk there with our toddler grandson, and let him run free, knowing he most likely will not find any little “treasures” left behind by negligent dog walkers.

No matter how many signs and warnings are posted to remind dog owners that they are to pick up after their pets, there are always those that are too lazy to do so.

Six years ago, we moved here to the South Surrey area, and made the mistake of buying a home on the sidewalk side of the street. Almost every day, we find a deposit or two left behind by lazy dog owners.

We are not dog-haters, we just hate cleaning up after them, which is why we choose not to own one ourselves.

Armstrong states that “dog policy excludes 40 per cent.” I wonder what percentage would be excluded by those wishing to dodge dog piles?

K. McKay, Surrey

• • •

After reading my recent edition of the Peace Arch News, I am compelled to write and offer my support to Mike Armstrong and his campaign to allow leashed dogs to be walked on the White Rock promenade.

I have wondered for a number of years what public-safety purpose the ban could serve in White Rock, when no such ban exists in Crescent Beach, on the Stanley Park seawall, in Whistler Village or a number of other places that have popular walks for the public, including dogs.

I was, however, provided a glimpse of the narrow-minded rationale that must have played a role in coming to the decision to ban dogs from the promenade. If the comments by letter-writers R.U. Kistritz and Don Campbell (Dog proposal gives them pause, Dec. 8 letters) represent the scope of reasons, White Rock’s newly elected council should reverse this prohibition immediately.

It does not require analysis, debate or extensive consultation to show leadership and change a bad bylaw.

Our councillors have been elected to govern a complex city, not a “two-bit” strata council. The process of evaluation can go on while those citizens with dogs demonstrate they can responsibly use the promenade.

Kistritz is wrong in suggesting the promenade’s “physical confinement” is a problem. The promenade measures eight feet wide and has no obstacles along its entire length. On the other hand, the Marine Drive sidewalks – on which you can walk a leashed dog – are only about five feet wide and are cluttered with telephone poles, fire hydrants, bus-stop signs, mailboxes, parking-regulation signs and vegetation, which has been allowed to grow.

The writer states “most promenade users would think twice about settling down on the grassy slopes… not knowing if that particular spot may have been a canine toilet.”

I counted over 85 benches and tables along the promenade. There is room for nearly 1,000 people to sit.

They should be careful, however, because those pesky seagulls are not licensed and don’t have owners to clean up after doing their business.

I am deeply offended by White Rock’s approach to dealing with the dog issue. Last year, they increased dog-licence fees by 250 per cent. They claim it was done to bring it in line with the rate charged in Surrey.

Surrey has dog parks and engages its citizens with a program to expand services for their dogs. White Rock took the money from the more than 800 licensed dogs in the city and did nothing – unless you consider “no-dogs-allowed” signs on the promenade value for the money.

It is time for White Rock to stop being such a restrictive community and shift focus to positive themes.

Some people like dogs, some don’t. There are people who ride bikes and we provide lanes for their use. There are letdowns at corners because it makes it easier for people with strollers, walkers and wheelchairs.

Cities exist to provide services for their citizens and should only prohibit activities that are dangerous or against the public interest.

If the promenade ever gets so crowded that we need to manage the congestion, then it may be necessary to put limitations on the users, such as only being able to jog on even-numbered days and walk dogs on odd-numbered days.

Solutions can and must be found to share our precious assets.

C. Arychuk, White Rock

 

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