Every morning, Geraldine Glattstein has the same routine. She wakes up and walks a few short blocks to Gonzales Beach with her two dogs, Pancho Villa and Bandido.
For 45 minutes to an-hour-and-half, the dogs walk along the beach and dip their feet in the water as Glattstein enjoys the view of the mountains in the background.
“It’s beautiful. It’s a cove, self-contained, all the dog owners know each other. It’s really beautiful and peaceful,” Glattstein said. “In the morning, it’s my therapy.”
Most mornings, Glattstein will see the same dogs and their owners on their daily walks.
Currently, the city’s animal control bylaw prohibits dogs on Gonzales Beach from June 1 to Aug. 31.
Glattstein and a handful of Fairfield-Gonzales residents hope the city will change the bylaw to allow people to walk their dogs year-round from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Some residents made a presentation to city council last Thursday in support of the change.
Henry Awmack, who has lived in the area for the past three years, walks his 11-year-old dog Pirate on the beach every morning and night.
“It’s not a harm to anyone else because no one uses the beach in the morning. It’s a beautiful place, the dogs have fun, the dog walkers have fun. It’s a chance to use a beautiful part of the city,” Awmack said, adding the beach is mainly used by families and teenagers after 10 a.m. and into the afternoon.
Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe plans on bringing a motion to council in the next few weeks to consider the bylaw change.
“The morning one definitely makes a lot more sense, before it gets warm and before children and families are down there. The evening one, whether families are still picnicking or still at the beach, may conflict, but I’m willing to have that conversation,” said Thornton-Joe, noting she’ll have to see what the response is from staff, council and the neighbourhood before bylaws are changed.
“People want dog walking areas close to where they live so they don’t have to drive a long way. These are people who want to be able to use the beach in their neighbourhood for how they want to recreate and for many members of that community, it’s taking that family member, which is the four-legged one, to the beach.”