LETTERS: Promenade no place for dogs

Editor: I am a citizen of White Rock, who loves the natural treasures of Boundary Bay.

Editor:

Re: Dogs allowed on White Rock beach despite bylaw, Sept. 15

I am a citizen of White Rock, who loves the natural treasures of Boundary Bay.

I moved here 15 years ago to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and community of this world-class beauty from our promenade and pier.

Some of the latest Peace Arch News articles, thanks to the fine work of reporter Aaron Hinks, highlight the failures of the dogs on promenade task force.

Learning this new information has me confused and very concerned.

How can we even entertain the idea of dogs on the promenade when there are so many risks to our fragile and vulnerable Wildlife Management Area?

So many unanswered questions about enforcement and responsibility, and so much at stake to the overall well-being of our precious ecosystem, our residents and our visitors?

We know that the Semiahmoo First Nation have made their official policy clear – no dogs on the foreshore – but they did not even have a voting position on the task force. Unbelievable! Have we not committed to Reconciliation?

We also find out that the members of the task force who were representing concerns of the WMA, water quality, public health and safety, resigned from the task force in early September due to miscommunications and misunderstandings. Therefore, leaving the rights of our WMA, etc. without a voice on this task force. How can the city move ahead with dogs on the promenade when these key stakeholders are absent?

Where are the rights of all the migrating birds and shore now? Who will enforce? What are the implications to the water quality in the bay? The quality of life of shellfish, starfish and fish? The rights of the children and seniors whose health and safety are being compromised?

With all this confusion, apparent irreversible disturbance to Boundary Bay’s ecosystem and the disrespect to our SFN, I would like to encourage our mayor, council and the task force to take more time to study this issue before there is a go-ahead.

Ideally, we leave our promenade, parkway and WMA pristine as it has been historically. No dogs.

If a tsunami of dogs hits this beach, irreparable damage will be done to our beautiful, fragile environment.

Let White Rock be a role model – respecting the wisdom and voice of SFN, and putting the rights of our Boundary Bay and wildlife first.

Yes, this is the legacy I want my students, grandkids and even grand-dogs to respect and honour.

Deb Riopel, White Rock

Editor’s Note: The beach, which forms part of the Boundary Bay Wildlife Managment Area, falls under the jurisdiction of the province of B.C. The Wildlife Act does not allow off-leash dogs on the beach. Dogs are permitted with a leash of less than two metres. Violations can be reported 24/7 at 1-877-952-7277.

More information, including answers to FAQ, about the City of White Rock’s policies surrounding dogs – on and off the promenade – can be found here.

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