I would like to express my concern about the report issued by Councillor Harper asking city staff to “review the current bylaws regarding beach use and dogs, and compare them to adjacent municipalities, providing a report with options for possible bylaw changes, considering consistency with bylaws of neighbouring communities, congruence with statutes of other level of government, as well as also consistency with current administrative and environmental practices of the District of Saanich.” We do not support this recommendation.
We feel that the current standard is clear and acceptable. It may require more consistent enforcement for a few concerns, rather that a broad sweeping punishment that impacts a majority of respectful and attentive dog owners.
Further reducing access to beach areas in Saanich seems to be counter productive based on Councillor Harper’s statements in her report. Reducing access to the beach increases the demands on fewer and fewer off-leash areas. This in turn creates greater use of smaller spaces and greater potential for conflicts and problems. Saanich already limits dog access in many areas and safe fenced areas for dog, similar to those in central Saanich like Cy Hampson, are non-existent. The University property dog park is not owned or managed by Saanich and could be closed at any time should the university to decide to use the property for other purposes.
We are concerned about the lack of actual data provided in the “report” that Councillor Harper has written. There is no quantifiable data about concerns regarding dog use and incident ratios, statistics of complaints that are from more than one individual or group of individuals, or data about the actual loss of use by persons as a result of dogs being present. It is clear, however, from Councillor Harper’s report that the concerns for the wealthy home owners who live on Cadboro Bay beach are most important. It makes one wonder if the need for the wealthy to have a more "private beach” property takes precedence over public access. Clearly fewer people will walk the beach if dogs are not permitted giving the wealthy home owners more private space. This clearly begs the question as to if this is this the real motivation behind the reasons for this report?
We will state again that we do not support changing the present status of the beach use and dogs bylaws at Cadboro Bay Beach and Gyro Park.
Jim Langley and Rod MacPherson