Saanich won’t consider a review of bylaws allowing off-leash dogs on beaches until the summer.
In January, Coun. Karen Harper submitted a report calling for a staff review of the District’s bylaws for dogs on beaches after residents reached out with concerns on the environmental effects of off-leash dogs. Cadboro Bay, for example, is part of the Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary which has banned off-leash dogs since 1923, but the federal rule is overridden by municipal bylaws, Harper explained in the report.
Council was meant to vote on Harper’s motion during the Feb. 24 meeting but after several hours of public input, councillors agreed to call a recess and vote on the remaining agenda items at the March 2 meeting.
However, during that committee of the whole meeting, Harper motioned to postpone the vote on her report to mid-July. This, she explained, would allow the Cadboro Bay Residents’ Association (CBRA) “time to conduct the community consultation process it has requested to undertake on the issues raised.”
On Feb. 28, CBRA chair Eric Dahli emailed council asking that “in the interest of harmony,” the decision regarding off-leash dogs on beaches be postponed while the association conducts community consultation.
Harper explained to council that the necessary dialogue has begun and that continued discussion with community stakeholders will be useful in the decision-making process.
During the meeting, Mayor Fred Haynes said the CBRA was involved in the 1990s when the bylaw was first introduced, so he feels “having faith in them and listening to them is the correct way forward.”
Council unanimously agreed to postpone the decision about off-leash dogs on beaches and support the CBRA in their public consultation process.