I agree with last week’s letter to the editor that the Qualicum Beach Community Park off-leash area is a jewel in the crown of Qualicum Beach.
In fact, I’ve been walking my dogs there almost every day since I moved here almost two years ago. However, in my hundreds of walks in the park I have not had a single confrontation with a jogger. All of the ones I’ve met have been quite courteous.
I’ve even met one couple who slow down and walk whenever they pass a dog so as not to startle it or its owner — very thoughtful indeed.
Unfortunately, I have met a number of inconsiderate dog owners who allow their dogs to run at other dogs in a dominant/aggressive manner, jump up on people and bark incessantly for no reason.
Such behaviours are annoying, even to other dog walkers, and can be downright frightening to people who are not comfortable around dogs. Yes, even a small dog that barks aggressively can be scary to other people, no matter how much its owner insists that “he is actually very friendly.”
The Community Park is not a dog park. It’s simply a public park that allows dogs to be exercised off-leash as long as they are under the control of the owner and not disturbing other trail users.
Of course the public have a right to run (or walk) on any public trail in town, just as I have a right to walk my dog there. I’ve never heard of any public park, off-leash or otherwise, that has a ban on joggers. These are designated multi-use trails and as long as everyone is considerate of, and courteous to, other users there is no reason we can’t all continue to enjoy these beautiful trails.
Be careful what you wish for. If it ever came down to dogs vs joggers I’m afraid it would probably be the pooches and their owners who are ultimately excluded.
Carol DoeringQualicum Beach