Foreshore trail should be inclusive

The city is being asked by the Salmon Arm Bay Nature Enhancement Society to ban citizens and visitors with leashed dogs

The city is being asked by the Salmon Arm Bay Nature Enhancement Society to ban citizens and visitors with leashed dogs from the foreshore trail.

Contrary to common understanding, the facts are that the city owns the 10 metre-wide trail that runs along the foreshore to Raven subdivision and has in place a bylaw requiring dogs on the trail to be leashed and under control.

The foreshore path is an essential element of the Salmon Arm trail network, linking the Salmon Arm waterfront with Raven subdivision, Coyote Park and the areas beyond.  It is the only easily accessible and safe route from Raven to town and is used by walkers, runners, cyclists and yes dog owners, including importantly not only residents but the Visitors that we as a community are working so hard to attract. The foreshore trail is a city, and hence taxpayer owned, community asset.

Council has been incorrectly advised by SABNES that dog use has or will have a materially adverse effect on wildlife.  The reality however is that wildlife flourishes despite the noisy and ground-shaking trains that rumble by hourly. And that the real threat to wildlife is natural predators, including the coyotes and birds of prey, that live along the foreshore. Despite what SABNES incorrectly states, there is no evidence that dogs on a leash will have any significant effect on wildlife. In fact ,many bird and wildlife sanctuaries allow such use.

SABNES makes a valuable contribution to our community, however there is no reasonable basis for granting their request to change the existing bylaw and to exclude anyone from responsible use of our trail.

Our goal should be to be as inclusive as possible, encouraging and supporting responsible use of our community trail network. The health, environmental and economic benefits are obvious.

This is our trail, it is owned by the tax- payers, including the many dog owners in our community. Lets not permit it to be hijacked by an albeit well-meaning private- interest group.

There will be an open forum on this issue at the council meeting on the evening of Nov. 23rd. I encourage you to attend with your friends and family. If you cannot attend, call, email or write a letter supporting continued open and responsible trail use.

Oppose the request by SABNES to limit your access.

Peter Robertson