Letter: No decent place to let dogs off-leash in West Kelowna

I would like to be on a beach with grass where my dog can go in the water without the leash.

To Whom It May Concern:

Re: Dog Friendly(?) Areas

I am a long time resident and now a senior of West Kelowna and I am also a dog owner – now, I have been officially discriminated against and I am being treated like a second class citizen. West Kelowna is building a fence ($13.500.00 MY tax money) to cut most of the Gellatly dog beach off so only a very small area is left to allow our dogs to go off-leash swimming. I have repeatedly stumbled over sticks sticking out of the ground, there is no place WHAT-SO-EVER to lounge around and spend any time longer that it takes to exercise and cool off my dog at the beach because of the dirt and mud.

Next on the Rotary Park beach: I have observed one morning an employee cleaning the grass from goose droppings and MY tax money pays for that, but I can not have my dog go in the water from the steps. I enjoy a swim with my pet but I have no place to go unless I wade through the mud in the now puny area that is assigned to dogs. When my dog swims without me, I have to sit in the mud and mess so that I can watch him. I would not want to go in the water that is assigned to us, I have to go home with my dog very dirty.

As well, in the leash-free dog parks in Westbank the bark mulch gives the dogs slivers which in many cases can become infectious. If a child were to injure themselves, there would be an uproar.I, constantly read complaints from people that very strongly state that “if we want a dog park, we should pay for it”. By way of education to those people, I would point out the following: we ARE paying for the parks, we ARE paying for the hockey rinks. we ARE paying for the skate parks and many other recreational sites and buildings—most of us do not use the facilities and do not begrudge paying our share for the sake of all members of our community, however, in fairness, where are the rights and privileges for dog owners? Please help me understand?

I have a larger dog, he needs exercise just like people do to keep him healthy—he needs to run and loves to swim, so please tell me—where can I go?

If the concern is aggressive dogs, I completely support that—but no different that a person that disturbs the peace or breaks the law; deal with the dog owner; not the entire population. Some dog owners do not clean up after their pets and I too find this offensive and have no problem pointing that out to guilty pet owners, however, I still do not understand why the penalties must apply to ALL dog owners, when in actual fact, it is a small group that are thoughtless and uncaring.

When I go through the school area in Glenrosa, I see and try to enjoy the wonderful landscape that MY tax money has helped pay for—again, I have no children that attend school yet have no issue paying my fair share for the greater good of our community. The area is a disgrace—the expensive landscape is totally destroyed dead bushes overgrown with weeds, I see garbage everywhere, empty juice boxes, rotten sandwiches, rotten fruit, plastic bags, broken bottles, etc. strewn everywhere and I can assure you that a dog did not contribute to any of that. But, good heaven’s, do not let a dog run on the empty fields, even if you are responsible and pick up after them.

This is all over and above the graffiti and the shutters that we had to pay for to protect the windows because some children in our community have no respect for anything or anybody.

As a side note, that small group of badly behaved children, urinate in my neighbours’ gardens and throw stones at the cows in a neighbour’s field. But  don’t let my dog go in the water in a clean area or run in a clean field—he might shake water off himself and offend someone.

As a retired senior, living in a responsible and well kept neighbourhood, I wonder why I am not able to mind my own business and enjoy my time after having worked very hard during my working life to contribute to the economy and infrastructure that so many of us collectively share.

I imagine this letter will go into the “ignored” file but I believe I have every right to ask and be told how I can enjoy the fact that I have a pet and would like to enjoy my time with him ON THE BEACH! The unfairness of this makes me angry. Yet, I will still receive my tax bill every year and still be expected to pay it in full.

My question is simple: I would like to fully understand MY rights and how I can continue to be a participating resident in West Kelowna with equal rights. I would like to be on a beach with grass where my dog can go in the water without the leash. I really would like to see other dog owners  speak up against this blatant discriminating segregation.I  respectfully request a response and can assure you that my many friends and neighbours who support me writing this letter will be most interested in your guidance.

Elfi Joachim,

West Kelowna


Kelowna Capital News