The Town of Qualicum Beach will put up signs to remind Heritage Forest users to keep their pooches on a leash.
There has been a growing concern about dogs being allowed to run free, prohibited in the Heritage Forest. The Heritage Forest Commission wanted more on-site bylaw enforcement but due to a shortage of bylaw officers, town council rejected the request. The commission instead asked for council to put up signs” to prohibit off-leash dog walking in the forest and to place them at each of the seven entrances, and two in the grassy area.
“They (the commission) are having quite an issue with off-leash dogs in the Heritage Forest,” said Coun. Robert Filmer. “I think it’s very valid. It’s not an off-leash park, so I think it is important.”
Filmer said some members of the commission have dealt with stubborn dog owners who refused to comply with the rules.
“Some of their encounters have not been very friendly,” Filmer commented. “They’ve had quite the issue of trying to approach people, so I think if we just add some signage that’s official from the town, that’s a good compromise on our part.”
On May 27, council unanimously endorsed the commission’s recommendation to put up signage.
Coun. Teunis Westbroek believes signs help.
“It’s really helpful when you approach somebody with a smile and say, ‘you know what, maybe you aren’t aware of it but you’re not supposed to have a dog off-leash here,'” he said.
Coun. Scott Harrison agreed it’s a good compromise and may help de-escalate conversations with dog owners.
Westbroek also raised concerns about the gravel used at some of the trails in town. He has received reports they contained sharp bits of glass, which he pointed out “would obviously be very hurtful for pet dogs to walk on.”
CAO Daniel Sailland said they are not aware of this situation but advised council the matter will be investigated and if glass f found, it will be dealt with immediately.