The federal government established the Shoal Harbor Bird Sanctuary in 1931. As one of the officially designated Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, Shoal Harbour Bird Sanctuary was established to protect migratory birds during critical periods of their life cycle. Whether these areas are used for feeding, resting, or nesting, they play a vital role in the survival of many species. The federal website states that dogs and cats must not be allowed close to those delicate areas.
The mayor and council of Sidney are looking at using Resthaven Park as the site of a dog park and I would like to state my strong objection. It is completely outrageous that this proposal is to be implemented so close to a national bird sanctuary. This is also an inappropriate proposal for one of the most beautiful oceanside parks in Sidney.
This park is used by families with children, seniors, students from nearby schools, and people of all ages. It is a place of peace and tranquility, of family picnics, and of people responsibly walking their dogs on leashes.
Most importantly, it is a national wildlife sanctuary. Geese with their young feed and rest here; kingfishers and flickers perch in the trees; many varieties of ducks visit throughout the year; eagles watch from the treetops; and herons hunt along its shores.
Council seems to be relying on a flawed survey reported previously in the Peninsula News Review. The following points should pour doubt on this survey’s reliability.
The survey design provided no certainty that the responses were even from people in Sidney – the responses could have come from anywhere in cyberspace. Any ‘resident’ could have voted many times by using different IP addresses for each vote.
The survey presumed dog park approval when there is none. The survey offered only two choices of size, large or small dog park, and no third choice, a no-dog-park choice.
I sincerely hope that the mayor and council will reconsider and look elsewhere for a more appropriate location for the off-leash dog park.