Qualicum Beach Coun. Anne Skipsey has raised concerns about dog owners violating restrictions put in place between March 1 to April 30.
The town does not allow dogs on the beach, leashed or unleashed, during this time due to migrating brant geese frequenting the shores to rest and regain strength on their way to their nesting ground on the Alaskan Peninsula.
Skipsey, during council’s regular meeting on March 16, wanted to know if the town plans to increase patrols on the beach due to concerns raised by the public.
“In the past, I know our bylaw officers have really done a good job of providing education to people and helping them understand why,” said Skipsey. “It’s important that dogs not be on the beach.”
Acting CAO Heather Svensen said the town’s bylaw officer has reported patrols are being conducted several times throughout the day, Monday through Friday, for March and April.
“The primary focus is during low tide,” said Svensen. “On sunny days at low tide, patrols can result in several hours every day due to violations.”
Since March 1, Svensen said, there has been 37 patrols on the beach and to date the bylaw officer has dealt with 20 violations.
“Majority of the people he speaks to claim to be from out of the area and aren’t aware of the restrictions,” said Svensen. “He says that 100 per cent of the people he addressed so far has complied with the request to remove the dogs from the beach.”
Svensen said the town is currently working on training one internal staff member to help out on Sundays.
Dogs are permitted on the street-level walkway on-leash. Dog owners in contravention are subject to a $100 fine.
The Brant Wildlife Festival hosts events all through March and April each year. For more information on Brant geese conservation and the festival, please visit www.brantfestival.bc.ca.