Dogs will be more frequent visitors to White Rock’s promenade, if council gives final approval to its plan to allow dogs from September to April. (File photo)

Dogs will be more frequent visitors to White Rock’s promenade, if council gives final approval to its plan to allow dogs from September to April. (File photo)

LETTERS: City’s pet project fetches reaction

Editor: Re: White Rock to allow dogs on promenade, Dec. 12.

Editor:

Re: White Rock to allow dogs on promenade, Dec. 12.

What is wrong with this picture?

Well, it seems White Rock is planning to allow dogs on the promenade and, as you can see from the photo on the Peace Arch News website (above), it seems leashes will either not be required or at least they won’t be policed.

I’m sure Mike Armstrong of the Dog Owners Group of White Rock put on quite a show, and I believe he may be a responsible dog owner following bylaws. However, he and responsible dog owners are not the problem. It’s the irresponsible dog owners who are.

One only has to look at the bigger picture of this change to see the numerous issues it will present.

Firstly, owners will not be allowed to walk their dogs from May to August or on the pier. Now, who really thinks that will be enforced? As usual, this enforcement will be left to others sharing the promenade, and I can tell you I have had my fair share of dog owners who have told me in so many words to pound sand.

Secondly, no matter how responsible the dog owner is, dogs will be dogs and they cannot be blamed for that.

Has anyone on the council been to the parks where dogs run free to see the bags of poop piled sky high and overflowing onto the ground? Not to mention the dog bags I see hanging in the bushes on my daily walks. Seems even the responsible dog owner would rather toss it into the bushes for someone else to pick up.

The city better figure out quick what it plans to do with all the poop-filled containers, as evidenced by PAN’s online 2012 article, Dog Poop Challenge in parks spurs Metro to cut the crap.

Thirdly, it’s well-documented that residue is left behind no matter what you do. One gram is toxic to humans. The grassy area between the promenade and parking is used by families to lay out a blanket to have a nice lunch. With this bylaw change, that area will become a cesspool of left-over dog feces and urine.

Fourthly, the suggestion that the key to restoring vibrancy to the waterfront is to allow dogs is rubbish. On the contrary, more people will navigate through and around the explosion of dogs, presumably on leashes.

Fifthly, I have no desire to supply endless doggy bags to those who decide to take 10 or 20 bags from the stations.

You only have to look to the issues Semiahmoo First Nation had in 2011 to know that this is a mistake.

David Johnson, Surrey

• • •

I am writing to express my utter opposition to the proposed trial period to allow dogs on the promenade.

There are plenty of areas dogs are allowed. The promenade should not be one. The trial period that needs to occur is getting more bylaw officers to hand out tickets to dog walkers and pot smokers on the promenade.

Alex Galo, White Rock

• • •

White Rock council will be doing residents a huge disservice by allowing dogs on the promenade.

Reasonable concessions have already been made by allowing dogs at both ends of the promenade.

There are good reasons why most residents have been so satisfied with the single-use status of the promenade. Simply put, you can enjoy a safe, relaxing walk and picnic without having to endure conflicting users – such as dogs, bikes, skate boards, roller blades, smokers, etc. – in this narrow and restricted public corridor.

It’s already a challenge to traverse this crowded path. Negotiating an obstacle course of leashes would make it much more precarious. Is the city really willing to add potential tripping and dog-bite liabilities to the mix?

It will be a big mistake for council to give way to the persistent lobbying of the Dog Owners Group. Its latest suggestion is for a “one-year reviewable program” that I hope will be evidence-based. What are the review criteria? What will be the basis for continuing or discontinuing the program? Who is going to monitor this controversial program, and who will fund it?

In any case, I suspect negative public feedback will get the usual political responses – “we need more public education and awareness” or ” we need more time for the public to adjust” or “we must all learn to get along.”

Let’s not kid ourselves. Once the city allows dogs on the promenade, they are pretty much there to stay.

R.U. Kistritz, White Rock

• • •

An open letter to White Rock council

Thank you for unanimously supporting a trial period to bring vibrancy back to the promenade by allowing those of us with dogs to enjoy the widest sidewalk in town.

In a year we look forward to measuring how many more businesses are not for lease, more dog licensing revenue, increased parking revenue and a higher vibrancy rating on the realtor.ca website.

This will also provide time to get feedback from all residents and help the restaurants stay in business all year.

Mike Armstrong, White Rock

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