EDITORIAL: Dogged by debate

Perhaps the pendulum has swung on this favourite topic of letter writers one final time

The letters to the editor typically arrive like clockwork.

For example, when Peace Arch News publishes one person’s opinion espousing the notion that trains should be rerouted off the waterfront, we often receive one noting trains have been here for more than a century and another asking where the tracks would go. And on it goes.

When we publish a letter that calls for opposition to one particular political philosophy, it is usually soon followed by an equally partisan opposing viewpoint.

And, in the case of pet owners, when we receive a letter in the spring either calling for dogs to be allowed on White Rock’s promenade or complaining about dog owners ignoring the ban, this is followed by the opposite view.

Of course, this latter example will usually result in a week or three of back-and-forths, with opponents using inventive euphemisms for canine feces, proponents noting rules in neighbouring communities and the debate expanding to not-unrelated topics, including calls for specific breed bans.

Truth be told, there are few issues that divide our community more than dog ownership.

Those who like the idea of allowing dog walkers on the waterfront note White Rock is one of the few cities to have an absolute ban on such a touristy walkway. Those who oppose it point to potential dangers and health concerns.

And we have no doubt you, the reader, have your opinion, as well.

However, this year has been different. While we thought we might have a reprieve from the topic for all of 2018 – we didn’t, after all, have an influx of letters on the issue last spring – fate had other plans.

Last week, White Rock council supported resident Mike Armstrong’s request to conduct a year-long pilot project that would allow leashed pets on the promenade for all but the four warmest months.

READ MORE: White Rock to allow dogs on promenade

And when we posted our article reporting council’s unanimous vote – not a quite a done deal, though a reversal before final reading would be a rarity – readers online were abuzz with comments mainly in support of the idea.

Curiously, it was quite the opposite result in print, as you might note on today’s letters page.

Whether the electorate reflects the majority opinion in either medium remains to be seen. However, this year’s reversal of opinion – from elected officials at least – gives us hope that perhaps the pendulum has swung on this favourite topic of letter writers one final time.

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