Council wants to make Holland Creek Trail on leash

Council announces intention to make trail an on leash area for dogs following letter of complaint

Ladysmith town council has announced its intention to make the Holland Creek Trail an on leash area for dogs.

At a municipal services committee meeting held last Monday at city hall, council received a letter of complaint from town resident Shawn O’Toole, who stated his concern regarding off leash dogs along the trail.

O’Toole wrote in the letter, “since Christmas, I have been bitten once, and have been chased three times by off leashed dogs that clearly have not been under the owner’s control.”

Mayor Rob Hutchins now believes making the trail on leash is something council and staff should crack on with.

“I’ve heard enough,” said the mayor. “We’ve had too many concerns regarding off leash dogs along the Holland Creek Trail and I’m not sure why we need to debate or refer to this any further. We’ve been debating it for a year and a half and have also had issues about dog poo. My biggest fear is a child who is face level with a dog.”

Hutchins confirmed to The Chronicle later in an email that “the intention is that the resolution of the [municipal services] committee be referred to the Parks, Recreation, and Culture Commission for comment and feedback prior to it coming to the Council table for final consideration.

“The Commission may choose not to comment, or it may choose to recommend modification to the resolution, or alternatives regarding timing of implementation and/or sections of the trail to be considered for leash/not leash.”

The mayor’s fellow councillors were all on board including Coun. Bill Drysdale who chaired the meeting.

“Most of the dogs along the trail are under control I’ve found,” said Drysdale. “Some are obedient, some are not so it’s fairly good. But some owners let their dogs go way far away from them and that’s not under control. It’s more important to protect the youngsters than it is the dog.”

It is a rule, currently, that dogs being walked along the Holland Creek Trail must be under control, but not necessarily on leash.

Coun. Duck Paterson was also on board and agreed with Hutchins’ concerns.

“I hope we send a letter to Parks and Recreation with a recommendation [to make the Holland Creek Trail on leash].”

Coun. Steve Arnett was dismayed by O’Toole’s letter.

“My view of aggressive dogs is that once they attack human beings, they should be put down right away,” he said.

Paterson briefly attempted to play devil’s advocate.

“Lots of people do have multiple does and so they can’t keep them all under control,” he said.

Arnett ended by asking city manager Ruth Malli if council is liable for someone currently being bitten by a dog along the trail to which Malli responded, “I don’t think so.”