Chapter, a Terrier-Chihuahua mix, checks out Cadboro Bay Beach. (Black Press Media file photo)

Chapter, a Terrier-Chihuahua mix, checks out Cadboro Bay Beach. (Black Press Media file photo)

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

‘This isn’t about loving or hating dogs, it’s about finding the right balance’ councillor says

Dog-owners may lose the ability to let their furry friends off-leash at Saanich beaches.

Council will review a report from Coun. Karen Harper on Monday night asking that staff be directed to review the District’s bylaws for beach use and dogs.

Harper, who’s been a dog owner for many years, pointed out that Saanich’s off-leash dog bylaws are more than 20 years old and are due for a reassessment.

Harper said that she loves dogs and agrees they need space to run free, but she wants staff to determine if beaches are the appropriate place for it.

READ ALSO: Unrelated occupancy limits creating divisions in Saanich

“This isn’t about loving or hating dogs, it’s about finding the right balance,” she said.

In the report, Harper notes that the birds and spawning fish that rely on local beaches and shores are often disturbed by dogs. Cadboro Bay is part of the Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary which has banned off-leash dogs since 1923, she said, but the federal rule is overridden by the municipal bylaw allowing loose dogs.

Harper also pointed out that off-leash-dog activity damages the indigenous plants growing near beaches. She highlighted Cadboro Bay’s dune grass which stabilizes the shore during storms and high water events but is “sensitive to trampling which dogs and their owners do incessantly.”

Dog owners, Harper said, “flock to Cadboro Bay’s so-called ‘dog-beach’” from all over the region during the District of Oak Bay’s annual closure of Willows Beach – May to September.

She noted that while there is a summer closure at Cadboro Bay, it only affects Gyro Park beach which extends towards Oak Bay and some dog-owners disobey the prohibition to access the dog-beach.

READ ALSO: Saanich unleashes summer dog restrictions

Off-leash dogs, Harper said, also pose a threat to the safety of beach-goers and municipal staff. She pointed out that many residents avoid beaches that permit dogs to roam free – some out of fear, other out of concerns about being knocked over, startled or bitten. There is also a risk of injury for the dogs if a fight breaks out, she explained.

If Harper’s motion is approved by council, staff will be asked to report back with options for potential bylaw changes that would be consistent with those of other municipalities in the area and with the District’s commitment to preservation.


@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

(Black Press Media file photo)
Court-registered sex offender arrested for breach of parole in Langford

Cameron Ratelle returned to correctional facility after female youth approached at bus stop

Marc Porpaczy said he’s glad he delayed his daily walk with his dog, Juno, after a car crashed just outside his driveway just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash highlights need for sidewalks, say Colwood residents

‘The residents have gone from frustrated to angry’

Jerry Dyck plans to purchase a new RV to drive across Canada in, once it’s safe to travel again. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria man plans post-pandemic cross-Canada RV trip after $2M lottery win

Retired electrician bought the winning ticket in Duncan

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Most Read