Skip to content

LETTER: Saanich pet plan disappoints as PKOLS suffers from off-trail use

Send your letters to
Send your letters to (Black Press Media file image)

Saanich council’s decision made at the Sept. 25 meeting regarding the pet strategy is disappointing. Council ignored the results of its own two-year comprehensive strategy process and created a new set of bylaws that fundamentally differs from what they unanimously approved in late June and ignores the input from all sectors of the community. New bylaws were approved just two hours after being introduced by the mayor, with no opportunity for public input.

Our natural area parks and biodiversity, particularly PKOLS (Mount Douglas Park), are exhibiting significant degradation. We have witnessed this degradation first-hand during the 40 years we have lived in Saanich, and it has been particularly noticeable in the last decade as our population and park use increases.

All of PKOLS (Mount Doug Park) is mapped as sensitive ecosystems by the federal/provincial SEI initiative. The park is mapped as provincially listed Ecosystems at Risk by the BC Conservation Data Centre. Both maps are available on the Saanich Map GIS system.

Most of the ecosystems in PKOLS are considered critically imperiled globally or imperiled globally, according to the international NatureServe system, viewable on the BC Conservation Data Centre website. This includes most of the forested ecosystems and Garry oak ecosystems.

Saanich council has seen multiple videos of off-leash dogs off-trail in PKOLS.

Pulling Together volunteers have spent over two decades removing invasive plant species in PKOLS which had allowed the native understory in the forested areas to recover. Many volunteers have stopped working in PKOLS because of the continued damage caused by off-trail use.

Saanich council is proposing to continue to allow the off-leash use of this area in PKOLS with no fencing. Fencing was recommended in the Pet Strategy and would protect and allow for recovery of these important ecosystems.

The District of Saanich has a responsibility to protect its natural area parks and biodiversity. All park users have a responsibility to treat our parks, biodiversity and wildlife with respect and care. Please keep yourself and your pet on designated trails and pick up after them.

Lora and Ted Lea,