I am pleased to note the increased use of Salmon Arm’s foreshore since the situation with respect to dogs being on the trail has been clarified. I have seen many happy new users, including families, seniors, couples, runners and cyclists. Without exception the ones I have spoken with are pleased with the bylaw and much relieved that the misleading “No Dogs Allowed” signage has been replaced with accurate information.
The fact is that the city did not just recently pass a bylaw allowing dogs. That bylaw has been in place for more than 10 years. What they did do though was allow us all to come to appreciate the facts – that is that virtually all of the foreshore trail lands are owned by either the city or the Nature’s Trust of B.C. and both the city’s bylaw and the mandate given to SABNES by Nature’s Trust contemplate and allow use of the trail by people with leashed dogs. The recent bylaw only further restricted how and when the trail is permitted to be used by limiting leash length to two metres and by providing for April 15 to June 15 seasonal closures. Such limitations were supported at the city’s public hearing and we have council to thank for unanimously passing these regulations.
We also have SABNES to thank for the extensive work they have done to create and maintain this community asset. Without their efforts we would not have this trail and boardwalks. However, such efforts do not justify nor permit the responsible use of the community trail to be restricted. And, while it is regrettable that several SABNES members have now chosen to withdraw their volunteer support as a consequence of their rejection of broader community trail use, I am confident that many of the new trail users will now step forward to assist.
Our foreshore trail is a valuable community asset that is capable of supporting a wide variety of responsible users, including those with leashed dogs. My hope is that we can now work co-operatively together so that the values and needs of all interest groups are met.