Dog walkers bring the furry friends to Cadboro Bay beach to socialize both on and off-leash. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Public input regarding off-leash dogs on Saanich beaches dominates council meeting

Agenda items pushed to next week after meeting hit four-hour mark

Public input on a motion to review Saanich’s policies for off-leash dogs on beaches dominated the Monday night council meeting.

In January, Coun. Karen Harper submitted a report calling for a staff review of the District’s bylaws for dogs on beaches. If her motion passes, staff will be directed to report back on the efficacy of the municipality’s bylaws and provide options for moving forward.

READ ALSO: Councillor calls for review of off-leash dogs on Saanich beaches

During the Feb. 24 meeting, the chambers were packed and there were “clear sides” on the matter, Harper said, noting that about two thirds of residents were opposed to a review of the current off-leash dog bylaws.

Harper pointed out that some speakers were clearly working to “inflame the issue.”

Despite not being surprised, she was disappointed that the issue was so controversial. Her motion was to request a review along with options for moving forward and she was concerned that some residents were opposed to more information on the issue.

Three hours into the meeting, Mayor Fred Haynes attempted to speed up the input process but gave up as shouts of opposition rang out from the audience.

Council was meant to vote on Harper’s motion and several others, but after several hours of public input, the meeting concluded just after 11 p.m. The remaining agenda items were pushed to the March 2 committee of the whole meeting where council will discuss and vote without further public input, Harper explained.

READ ALSO: Unrelated occupancy limits creating divisions in Saanich

Harper felt it was important to start a conversation about off-leash dogs on Saanich beaches not because she’s against it – Harper is a self-proclaimed dog-lover and has owned dogs for much of her life – but because residents had voiced concerns with specific emphasis on the effects on the environment in Cadboro Bay.

While the public will not be able to provide further input on the matter at the next meeting, residents are invited to reach out to council by phone or email beforehand, Harper said. Further correspondence will be accepted until noon on the day of the meeting.

Harper suspects her fellow councillors will agree that more information from a review would be helpful but she’s not sure if they’ll agree to ask staff for options to move forward.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

beachesDistrict of SaanichDogsSaanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tour de Rock turns community bubble relay race amid pandemic

Alumni will take on socially distanced leg of race in their hometowns

North Saanich among six communities facing ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Findings appear in a report that also analyzed daycare in Central Saanich and Sidney

Oak Bay police seek suspect who broke into liquor store on Cadboro Bay Road

The incident happened at 2:50 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17

MISSING: VicPD seeks 33-year-old man last heard from in August

Scott Grier could have been travelling in Alberta, police say

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

Long-term care need pressuring acute care in Comox Valley, Strathcona

Region could use a couple of large facilities for seniors on the north part of the Island

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Vancouver’s shuttered aquarium searching for financial solution amid pandemic

The aquarium needs about $1 million a month to cover its costs

Most Read