Opinion

Dogs not the only ones that make a mess in Nelson's downtown

  - Bob Hall photo
— image credit: Bob Hall photo

Nelson’s downtown dog issue is a mess in more ways than the obvious final product of a canine’s digestive system.

Monday’s special council meeting to discuss a potential reprieve from the ban was a waste of time and will only serve to inflame the situation. Council’s continued delayed action on this matter was a shot to those who have invested time and energy into working on solutions.

At the 75-minute meeting on Monday afternoon that saw 50 people take time out of their busy day, council listened and then basically told the public they are too busy with other issues. Councillor Deb Kozak couldn’t even get a motion passed requesting staff provide a report on the matters discussed.

Obviously there are more important issues currently facing our elected representatives. It’s budget time and councillors are charged with vital short-term and long-term decisions that ensure the city functions properly.

But the dog issue matters too; and it’s time for council to deal with it.

In the last few weeks, we have been flooded with letters and online comments about the dog issue. Stories and letters on this issue attract a large number of page views at nelsonstar.com. A recent online poll had 200 people vote (much higher than average) and the final results were split down the middle with 51 per cent deciding that council should lift the dog ban on a trial basis.

We’re not saying getting rid of the downtown dog bylaw is the right direction, but it only seems reasonable to allow for a trial period. Having a more concrete experience to point to will bring better clarity to the issue.

Concerns by some councillors that dogs will cause anarchy on Baker Street are silly. We won’t be overrun by mutts; it won’t cause a health epidemic; and the extra cost to see it through will not put the community into receivership. The large majority of cities across this country allow dogs in their downtowns and life goes on.

Talk on this issue needs to end. By once again taking no action, our city’s leaders have ensured it will continue with vigour.

 

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