Contributed photo The view from letter-writer Kim Sanderson’s balcony overlooking the White Rock waterfront and promenade last Canada Day.

LETTERS: Don’t curb the rights of the many

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

Editor:

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

I am a longtime resident of White Rock and a proud dog owner. I wanted to express my complete delight that the new city council is willing to review allowing leashed dogs on the promenade during the off-months.

I live 1½ blocks up from the pier. We see the promenade from our balcony – it’s virtually empty during the winter months – every single day. Instead of enjoying the promenade, that I pay taxes for its lease and upkeep, I am forced to leave town to walk my dog.

The “hilly” hillside isn’t conducive to dog – or human – walking, so I put my dog into the car and drive over to Crescent Beach, Kwomais, Sunnyside Acres or Crescent Park to walk her. I often stop at Tim Hortons, Starbucks, or Fieldstone’s to spend my money, because the gorgeous walkway –with the lovely little restaurants and coffee shops a stone’s throw from my house – doesn’t welcome dogs. So I never visit Marine Drive.

I often take my dog to Fort Langley. My dog is welcome there. We visit stores and coffee shops and feel inclusion.

If I’m going out, chances are my dog is going with me!

I heard the argument that the promenade was too narrow for a dog. It’s the widest walkway in White Rock.

I walk 152 Street with my dog often, and I haven’t heard of any dog attacks on those roads. And I’ve lived in the area most of my 58 years. I grew up with dogs, raised my kids with dogs and, now, am retired with a dog.

I want to stress, I am an extremely responsible dog owner. So are my neighbours and friends. My dog is well-behaved. I have rolls of poop bags with me at all times, even though the proposal is to provide free bags.

I pay the same taxes as others here in White Rock, and yet, I am denied one of its most beautiful places because members of my family – yes, I consider my dogs family – are not welcome. And yet the place is virtually empty in winter and fall months! Businesses suffer every single winter cause no one is down there.

There are some vocal locals who don’t want dogs. Those people have had their way for years, and they’ve kept our dogs out and us people away from the promenade. I’d be interested to know how much they use the promenade.

Why can’t residents accept a trial period? I certainly hope White Rock council doesn’t cave to a few very loud people that demand things always stay the same.

More than 40 per cent of households have dogs. It is time we had an opportunity to enjoy our city equally.

Kim Sanderson, White Rock

• • •

I was happy to see the new no-dog signs on the promenade this year.

I have spoken many times with bylaw officers trying to enforce the no-dog bylaw. I was told they have no authority to obtain identification from offenders and have to call police, who have that authority. In my view, this severely ties their hands with respect to enforcing the bylaw. The officers I spoke to were clearly frustrated.

I believe there are enough dog parks and beaches in South Surrey/White Rock and that humans’ pleasure should take precedence over the rights of dogs and their owners. It is hard enough to skirt the goose poop on the grass and sidewalks without adding dog poop. In addition, it is impossible to scoop all of the poop, leaving feces behind for beach goers to be contaminated with.

I, too, witness doggie poop bags discarded by owners. I don’t believe the contention that they will pick it up on their way home, as I have seen the same bags hanging in bushes and on the sidewalks for days at a time. Plastic does not decompose, therefore what is the point of putting the poop in a bag and then discarding it?

We have all suffered the consequences of a ‘few’ spoiling it for the majority, but we have learned to live with it. As an example, the drinking/drug use and driving campaigns.

Until all dog owners take responsibility, why should the rest of us have to suffer the consequences of the ‘few’?

Bonnie J. Gillis, Surrey

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