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.”