Letters To the Board

Letter: Equal Access to Saanich Parks and Beaches for Everyone… and Their Dog

Letter submitted by Cadboro Bay Resident to the Mayor and Council and Saanich News:

“For eighteen years my wife and I enjoyed one and later, another Newfoundland dog on Cadboro Bay Beach and parks. They were-off leash so they could be dogs and we could enjoy them swimming and playing and fetching and running. The benefits of dogs for people’s health and well-being are well known and documented. 

Now, ignoring the benefits of dogs to many people, Saanich Council is moving in the direction that sees dogs and their people as a problem to be solved; to be subject to punishment if they ignore the new rules that forbid and constrain off leash dogs being dogs.

Some people don’t want to be near unleashed dogs and that is fine.

Some people feel their wants and needs are more important than their fellow citizens.

But massive conflict between these groups is emerging and the envisioned “solutions” will make it far worse because they and Saanich staff and Council are framing the problem in a discriminatory, one-sided way..

Both groups are citizens and everyone should  have equal access to the beaches and parks-at different times.

The Saanich Plan must seek fair access as its primary goal along with safety and protection of vulnerable places and wildlife.

The plan proposed here is simple and based on the equal rights of citizens and on what the Wise Solomon would have us do.


Set specific equal times of the day, the month and the year, revolving annually, for people no dogs off leash and people and dogs free to be dogs.

Sensitive areas need to be blocked off to both people and dogs-people cause far more damage- at certain times affecting wildlife or permanently as required by sufficient scientific rationale.

This solves the fair access problem and reframes the dog and dog owner as problem approach Saanich planners are recommending.

It is important that this issue be understood for what it is. An issue of Discrimination versus Citizen Rights to our shared natural resources.”

Ray Lazanik 

4 thoughts on “Letter: Equal Access to Saanich Parks and Beaches for Everyone… and Their Dog”

  1. Well said. However, let’s not permit Saanich to force people with their dogs to only be allowed to access the beaches before 9 a,m. Some of us have joints that don’t work well that early in the a.m. We vote and pay our taxes too.
    Instead, why not permit us access on the odd hour every day, and have us stay off the beaches on the even hours each day starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 9p.m.
    Perhaps Sundays could be an exception, where people and their dogs
    could leave the beach by 10a.m., thereby allowing individuals and families
    who fear dogs, to loiter at the beach until 7p.m. (They need to clean up after themselves just as we expect people with dogs to do.)
    With the exception of Sundays, rowdy partyers who leave their mess behind for birds to swallow would therefore enjoy the last hour at 10 p.m. and would have to be off the beach by 11p.m.
    Also, let us recognize ALL the beach accesses equally. Do not block off an access that serves so many citizens. Perhaps South of Hibbens Close could be blocked off to protect the birds from uncontrolled behaviours, both human and dogs, and, to prevent local criminals from transporting their ill gotten gains to and from their derelict boats in the bay.
    Let’s SHARE!

  2. What a concept! But I do think Saanich will say “we tried that”. Is that not where we came from with half the beach allowing dogs during certain hours at certain times of year?
    It so so unfortunate that it’s become such an issue. As if dogs are the solely responsible for any wildlife issues. Could it be that the birds have miles of coastline that humans don’t use as public recreational beaches and so they live there? As of dogs are a “problem” to be solved.
    It couldn’t possibly but the houses on the beach, the boats at the club, the humans using the beach for recreation throughout the year. No, it must be the dogs.

    I like this solution nonetheless. I wonder if it could divided by be chunks of times, and days of the week.

    Either way, we need to convince council that this isn’t a problem, this is about fair access and use of our natural spaces.

    Thank you Ray, for sharing!

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