Letter: Is Harrison really dog-friendly?

Rendall Park beach should cater to humans and dogs

To the mayor and council of the Village of Harrison Hot Springs:

We have lived in Harrison Hot Springs for over 18 years, and our dogs have always enjoyed playing on the beach and swimming in the lake. For many of those years, there was a dog-friendly beach right in front of the village, between the docks. When this beach was closed to dogs, dog lovers were informed that the east end of Rendall Beach would be open to dogs. Our dogs—and many, many other dogs—have enjoyed this beach for many years.

Recently, a bylaw enforcement officer informed us that we were in violation, and that Rendall Beach was now a ‘No Dogs on Beach’ area. When was this decided, and by whom?

Some 44% of Canadian families own dogs, including visitors. Tourists and residents alike expect to be able to take their dogs to the beach to swim and play, Trip Advisor even gives Harrison Hot Springs the highly-prized ‘dog friendly’ rating. But there is now nowhere dogs can access the lake. Not on any of our beaches!

This is short-sighted and regrettable. Resident dogs need to access the lake. Visitor dogs need to access the lake.

IF there is any issue with dog behaviour, we have bylaws to cover it, which should be enforced. But kicking all the dogs off all the beaches is not the solution.

When we were kicked off Rendall Beach, we had been chatting with a couple from Nelson who were visiting, looking at possible retirement homes. They had their dog with them, and our dogs were playing together in the water.

When these nice people learned that dogs were no longer allowed on any of the beaches in Harrison Hot Springs, they told us they would be looking for somewhere else to retire.

We had been extolling the virtues of Harrison Hot Springs as an ideal retirement destination; if this policy remains in force, I feel obliged to inform Trip Advisor and other visitor information resources that Harrison Hot Springs is, in fact, ‘dog-hostile’. Visitors and potential residents need to be warned in advance of this situation.

Please restore the east end of Rendall Beach to ‘dog-friendly’ status, and eliminate this resident-hostile and visitor-hostile ’No Dogs On Beach’ policy.

–Paul Burkhart, Harrison Hot Springs

NOTE: Current Village of Harrison bylaws, consolidated June 19, 2017 state:

19. No person shall cause, allow or permit dogs to be:

(a) on the entire sand beach area around the lagoon, southernmost

portion of the sand beach up to the grassed area and entire body

of water in the beach lagoon, known as the “Beachfront Lagoon Area”

as designated and marked in Schedule “A”; and

(b) on the southernmost portion of the sand beach adjacent to Rendall

Park, including the designated swimming area, known as the Rendall

Park Area, as designated and marked in Schedule “A”;

unless the dog is a Service or Guide Dog trained and certified under the

Guide Dog and Service Dog Act; (AB#1106)

Schedule “A” from the Village of Harrison’s park regulation bylaw no. 915 shows prohibited areas for dogs on the Beachfront Lagoon and Rendall Park. The red areas prohibit dogs, while grey areas allow dogs on leash only. (Village of Harrison)

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