Dear Mayor and Parks Chair, Judy Brownoff, Saanich Council, and Cadboro Bay Residents Association
Hello, on this Mother’s Day, I would like to share my thoughts and experiences about dogs at Gyro Park with Saanich Councillors, CBRA Board of Directors, and the community. I write this just prior to heading down to the beach where i am so grateful to have one of countless beautiful beach picnics with my family (which includes both furry and non-furry members).
I do not normally write letters or get involved in any way because I feel the hubbub can get quite out of hand, but I feel now I must, because I do feel personally discriminated against by the current ban on dogs in the park from May-August. Also I am hurt by the persistence of some very vocal members of the community that paint dog owners in such a horrendous light that they wish for families like mine to continue being officially banned from the park.
Despite my best efforts to exercise and lead a healthy life, arthritis is taking a serious toll on my mobility. I read the letter entitled “Federal Study Imminent” that asked CBRA to prove how many people face mobility challenges. Please count me in that number. My three grown children would also like to be counted in that number, because one day they may inherit my arthritis and do not want to be banned either.
My husband and I are in our late 70’s now, and we cant walk as far as we wish we could. We have three grown children who have flown the nest. Our children were raised to understand animals, to care for them and to be responsible dog owners. We also raised our children to appreciate nature, and to find every way possible to live in harmony with it. But alas, we require places to go for our mental, social and spiritual enrichment. Well, for our family, one of the most enriching places we go is Cadboro beach and Gyro Park. It’s a place we can go as a family, it’s a place where we feel part of a beautiful community of people and nature, and yes, our family includes our dogs. It always has, and it always will.
I thank CBRA for noticing people like me, who are banned from the park from May 1 to August 31. Families like mine are getting overlooked by all the hubbub about dog parks and bird sanctuaries, because walking through a park with a dog on leash is so basic, so essential, so common, within an urbanized area. Yet, miraculously, it is banned and villainized at Gyro Park in the spring and summer seasons of the year.
I have always found the rules banning us from a park to be so appalling, that I believed it must be some mistake. How could I not have a right to walk down a sidewalk with my loyal companions by my side? I can’t walk far these days, and with a park so lovely in the center of my community, it only makes sense to walk through its pathways to the village instead of going along a loud and busy road. So that is what I do. My husband feels so uncomfortable about walking there, that he hunches and rushes through, unable to relax. We, people who have led respectable lives, had full careers, raised children, volunteered our time to many causes, paid our taxes and never so much as gotten a speeding ticket, we are not allowed to walk down a pathway or enjoy a picnic with our family and friends, because our family includes dogs?
The rules prohibiting dogs have given me the sickly tinge of discrimination for years, and now, with this matter becoming political, the feeling is flaring. I urge Saanich to fix this. Everything else (dog parks, etc) can be debated on and on, but this, please, fix it as soon as you can. It is, truly, discriminatory.
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