Re: Rabid reaction expected to dog-ban bid, Dec. 18.
A very important fact was missing in the PAN article concerning the province’s request not to allow dogs on West Beach at all.
The fact is that the entire foreshore area of White Rock is part of the Boundary Bay Wildlife Management Area.
The reason this foreshore area is being protected by the province is because, according to the B.C. ministry website, it is a “critical, internationally significant habitat for year-round, migrating and wintering waterfowl populations, along with important fish and marine mammal habitat.”
Most people who walk the promenade or venture out onto the adjacent tide flats must surely notice and enjoy the abundant diversity of waterfowl using this marine habitat.
You also can’t help but notice the big sign at the East Beach entrance by Grizzly that describes the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network of which we are a part.
Coun. Helen Fathers – a dog owner – came to the realization that council “probably shouldn’t have allowed dogs in that area.” The current foreshore lease-extension application has now brought this issue awkwardly to the forefront.
Comments by council that it would be very difficult to monitor or deal with the issue, or that they won’t enforce the bylaw, indicates that they do not take seriously or really appreciate the matter of restricting dog access to the Boundary Bay Wildlife Management Area.
Instead, they took the politically expedient way out by handing the decision-making process over to the residents through public consultation.
Since dogs seem to outnumber the human population in White Rock, and considering the influential dog lobby, a public-consultation process would obviously favour the status quo at West Beach.
It’s sad to say that by disregarding a provincial mandate, and disrespecting our marine environment, White Rock will have another blemish to its reputation.
However, it’s not too late for council to be a good role model and to abide and enforce this amendment to the city’s Animal Control and Licensing Bylaw.
R.U. Kistritz, White Rock