On May 20 I was at Willows Beach along with another family and several small grandchildren. All of them sat in the sun, sifted sand, walked barefoot in the sand and put their fingers in their mouths.
On this day there were probably several hundred other people on the beach; teenagers in bare feet, families enjoying the first sunny day of the summer-yet-to-be.
It was also a very low tide day. Any dog that had been on the beach prior to 9 a.m. and had “done their business” there, picked up or not, had left some fecal matter behind and it stayed behind until late in the afternoon when the tide returned.
Presumably the reason behind the “no dogs on beach bylaw between May 1 and Sept. 30” is because of this potential contamination.
I speak from experience. Years ago as a mother with young children, my infant son contracted a severe and almost deadly contamination from fecal matter on this very beach.
Following five days of intense diarrhea, which eventually infected my daughter and husband, the source was located by the public health officer as coming most likely from Willows Beach, where we had spent a sunny, summer morning.
I think Oak Bay council needs to look very closely at the reason for bylaws and reflect before genuflecting to the dog-owner population.
Or I will work very hard to get a second petition signed by over 55 people, along with letters of support, asking council to keep the dog-free beach bylaw.