Saanich community survey on dog-leashing options on beach draws hundreds of responses
Public consultation runs until July 6; more than 800 responses, 1,500 comments already received
Off-leash dogs on the beach have been a contentious issue for residents of Saanich's Cadboro Bay, one which a neighbourhood association is trying to resolve with public consultation that's continuing through Monday.
The survey by the Cadboro Bay Residents Association (CBRA) follows a February report by Saanich Coun. Karen Harper about the problems caused by unreined canines in the Cadboro-Gyro Park.
Issues include owners not picking up their pets' feces and dogs' interference with particular birds.
The CBRA's questionnaire, available online as well as on paper, asks respondents how they and their communities might be affected by different levels of dog restrictions as outlined in a report CBRA published in mid-June.
The options aren't mutually exclusive, the CBRA says.
"It's not a ranking of which option you prefer over the others, then the one with the most votes wins, but rather we're trying to find from the survey ... about what's working for people and what's not at the beach," CBRA spokesperson Liz Miller said on CBC's All Points West.
Survey takers, who don't need to be Cadboro Bay residents, have to choose and rate three of five factors that would enhance their beach experience:
- Restrictions in place from May 1-Sept. 15;
- Leashed dogs allowed in the park and on pathways but prohibited from designated areas;
- Significant signage improvement;
- "Quiet Zone" signage for hours before 7 a.m. and after 10 p.m.;
- Establishment of a volunteer beachkeepers group under the CBRA to help maintain the beach.
Passionate responses from beach users
Miller said her association had already received more than 800 responses with over 1,500 individual comments, which she says reflects how passionate local residents are about the beaches and the wildlife there.
"I don't want to diminish them by calling them nuisance issues, but there's the issue for people both who live on the beach but who are also enjoying the beach perhaps without a dog," she said. "And with dog feces on the beach ... the interactions are not always comfortable."
The CBRA will use the survey answers to amend its dog restriction options report, and submit the report to Saanich city council by the end of July.
Click below to listen to Liz Miller's interview:
With files from All Points West