Dogs in Nelson’s downtown firmly in council’s court
The future of Nelson’s controversial dog bylaw is still in limbo.
The Nelson Business Association made a presentation to council at Monday’s committee of the whole meeting after several months of meetings around issues they feel are important to the downtown core.
“I think they came up with lots of good ideas for several different issues in the downtown core,” said mayor John Dooley. “We’ll have to see what the outcome is with council.”
Stacey proposed council look at allowing leashed dogs on Baker Street on a six month trial period.
The association would like to see the trial in place by tourist season.
Stacey said the no-dog bylaw has become a problem for many downtown merchants who have found tourists don’t wish to travel to Nelson because of the bylaw.
Councillor Robin Cherbo voiced his concerns about amending the bylaw, saying dogs have been banned at Kokanee Glacier Park because too many were off leash.
“There are dog owners that don’t listen,” said Cherbo.
Stacey suggested the climate around dogs in Nelson has changed and that the sensitivity to it has also changed.
“I’m not 100 per cent convinced that we’ve talked to the people who travel that don’t have dogs or want dogs on Baker Street,” said Dooley. “How do they feel about being tourists in the downtown core if there are dogs there. It’s happened before and, yes times have changed, but have they changed enough.”
Stacey said it would be up to the business owners to decide whether or not dogs would be allowed in the stores themselves, and if dogs were to be left outside they would likely be tied to parking meters or lamp posts.
“There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm around these issues early on and then the commitment kind of peters out by business owners or the community in general to live up to their level of commitment that they first bring forward to us and we have more than one instance where that hasn’t happened,” said Dooley mentioning the follow through of the anti-pesticide movement.
Councillor Donna Macdonald said that with dogs tied to parking meters and sandwich boards on side walks that it may become “cluttered.”
Stacey responded by saying that some may call it “funky, cool and artistic.”
Both agreed that Nelson needs something in the middle.
Dooley expressed concern around enforcement.
“It’s not like they’re asking us not to enforce some kind of bylaw, “ said Dooley.
The Association said they would help enforce the regulations by handing out leashes and bags to tourists where needed.
But Stacey said they did not want to go as far as informal monitoring.
“If they feel that that’s the most important issue for them in the downtown core, then clearly we have a responsibility to look into it. But we have to take into consideration the greater good when we look into it,” said Dooley.
The amenity area and sandwich board issues were referred by council to the Downtown and Waterfront committee, and the dog bylaw will have to wait for council’s strategic planning.