Additional patrols will be added this summer to make sure people aren’t allowing their off-leash dogs to disturb the wildlife in the foreshore area of Boundary Bay.
Having asked staff about what steps should be taken following complaints, Delta council recently got a report on the issue.
That report notes the area has a large intertidal zone at low tide, which increases the challenges related to enforcement of those who let their dogs run freely off-leash.
The jurisdictional boundary of the foreshore area also contributes to the enforcement challenge, the report explains, noting that below the high water mark, provincial officers can enforce regulations with respect to wildlife disturbances.
“Unfortunately, a number of regular users in the Boundary Bay area are aware of the jurisdictional boundaries and in the absence of on-site patrols by provincial officers, take advantage of low tides to walk their dog off-leash in the foreshore area,” the report notes.
Mayor George Harvie has written to Premier John Horgan and the environment ministry asking for action to stop nature photographers trampling the environmentally sensitive areas at the Brunswick Point Wildlife Management Area.
The request included a regional order to prohibit the harassment of wildlife within all wildlife management areas.
“Such an order would also apply to the Boundary Bay Wildlife Management Area, which includes the intertidal area of concern that was identified in recent correspondence to council,” the report adds.
Such an order would allow for active enforcement by provincial officers, according to Delta staff, noting the request is being considered by the environment ministry.
Delta staff also noted the province plans to increase patrols this year through seasonal staff in Delta's wildlife management areas.
“City of Delta bylaw officers and Metro Vancouver Park Rangers have the authority to issue a violation offence for off-leash dogs on the upland portions within Delta property and Metro Vancouver Regional District property respectively; however, catching the offender in the act is often difficult. In general, both Delta and Metro Vancouver staff have practiced education over enforcement. Both Delta and Metro Vancouver staff will seek voluntary compliance if off-leash dogs are observed within intertidal areas outside of each organization's direct jurisdiction,” the report notes.
“Additional park patrols are being added to the regular complement of Delta bylaw staff this summer. These two additional staff will work evenings and weekends in the parks to undertake education enforcement where necessary in the busiest locations.”