File photo Three members of the City of White Rock’s ‘Dogs on the Promenade Task Force’ have resigned, saying their concerns aren’t being heard.

Three quit White Rock’s ‘Dogs on the Promenade’ task force

Former members call group ‘nothing more than a misguided, political partisan process’

Three members of the City of White Rock’s ‘Dogs on the Promenade Task Force’ have independently resigned, leaving the committee dominated by members who are in support of the Oct. 1 bylaw change.

Ron Kistritz, Beverly O’Malley and Thomas White – who were the only task force members opposed to allowing dogs on the popular waterfront walkway– each pulled out of the committee last month.

However, the chairman of the committee Coun. Scott Kristjanson said the parting members’ concerns will still be considered going forward.

“With the three opposed people gone, I mentioned to everybody that it’s our responsibility, and our duty, to continue to address their concerns. There’s a huge misconception that this thing is biased. I just want to point out that we are still proceeding as if they are still there, addressing their concerns,” Kristjanson said.

The former task force members contacted Peace Arch News this week to explain their reasons for leaving, because they’re “really concerned that our story is going to be spread on Facebook through rumour rather than get the real story out.”

They signed off on a press release that highlights their concerns. The members also provided PAN with their resignation letters.

“The city led initiative to allow dogs on the promenade is nothing more than a misguided, political partisan process, pandering to an entitled group of dog owners who are determined to get their way, with little regard to the public health and safety, and the environment,” the news release states.

RELATED: Dogs allowed on White Rock Promenade during off-season

Earlier this year, the city approved a “trial” project to allow dogs on the promenade from Oct. 1 2019 to March 31, 2020. Dogs will still be prohibited from the beach.

One of the major issues for O’Malley, which was echoed by other former task force members, was that they thought they were signing up to the task force to help design measurements for a trial – not to run a pilot project.

“If you look at all the literature and all of the motions, it was supposed to be a trial run to see if dogs on the promenade would work,” O’Malley said, who has experience with vaccine trials.

“We went in thinking that’s what it would be. We would do a trial, we would put the dogs on the promenade, we would design measures… and then we would recommend those measures to council. We would look at them and there would be a decision about the success or failure of having dogs on the promenade.

“As it turns out, that was not the plan.”

RELATED: Meeting over dogs on promenade divided

Kristjanson said it’s unfortunate that the three left, and “I think they felt frustrated that they weren’t being heard.”

“We used the term trial from the start but really, it was a pilot. (O’Malley) was frustrated that we weren’t going to be doing a trial, we were going to be doing a pilot project,” he said.

Kristjanson, and O’Malley agreed that there was a miscommunication.

In his resignation letter, Kistritz says he takes “great umbrage to such flippant comments” made by Kristjanson during the task force meetings.

Kistritz wrote that when he tried to share his risk-benefit assessment experience, his attempts to do so were disrespectfully interrupted, and his comments were repeatedly misconstrued as being off-topic, untimely and irrelevant.

“On several occasions, the chair would sarcastically refer to my study approach as the ‘million dollar clinical trial that no-one can afford,’” he wrote.

Kristjanson told PAN that during one of the task force meetings, “I think I shut down Ron too much.”

“I could have been more diplomatic. I was like ‘Ron, you’re not on task, lets stay on task’. I had to cut him off a couple of times and I think he took exception to that,” Kristjanson said.

Kristjanson said any allegation of him being biased towards allowing dogs on the promenade “couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Although he owns a dog, he said he has no desire to bring his pet to the waterfront.

RELATED: White Rock seeks input on dogs-on-promenade issue

One of the key issues for White, which he says made him come to realization that the task force was “greatly distorted and misdirected,” was when the group didn’t allow Semiahmoo First Nation a voting position on the task force.

SFN’s official policy on the matter, confirmed to PAN this week, is that no dogs should be allowed anywhere on the foreshore.

Kristjanson, who as chairman doesn’t get a vote on task force motions, said that he volunteered for the position. His goal, he said, was for each side of the discussion to be heard.

“I feel like I failed the no-dogs side because they didn’t feel heard.

“That’s unfortunate, because I was embracing everything they had to say,” he said.

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP looking for owner of stolen catalytic converters

They were found last Thursday, along with some power tools, in an abandoned rental truck

Surrey Eagles rebound with win Sunday after pair of road losses

South Surrey-based BC Hockey League team defeates Langley Rivermen on home ice

South Surrey event to benefit efforts to help Cambodia rebuild

Cambodia ‘missing a whole generation’ due to Khmer Rouge genocide

Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers head home on a high after 27-0 win over Terry Fox

AAA Varsity team’s home-opener is Friday, Sept. 27 at Cloverdale turf

White Rock couple to donate blood 325th time, collectively

Anne Friendly will make her 175th donation, while her husband Kevin Klop will donate his 150th time

VIDEO: ‘Thrones,’ ‘Fleabag’ top Emmys

Billy Porter makes history as first openly gay black man to win best drama-series acting Emmy

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Judge rules cops did not coerce statement from B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker

Defence wanted Vernon’s Curtis Sagmoen’s video interview with police deemed inadmissible

GRAPHIC: Tortured cat found with string around its neck in Kelowna alleyway

City crews have been contacted and are on the way to pick up the dead feline.

Firefighters may be needed for paramedic apartment access, experts say

Better coordination recommended in urban B.C. 9-1-1 calls

B.C. police chief to speak to Liberal candidate after second ad appears featuring photo of officer

Jati Sidhu had said an ad with the same photo posted last Friday was ‘not appropriate’

Stolen iPhone leads Abbotsford Police to 260 marijuana plants

Search warrant at west Abbotsford home leads to seizure of plants

B.C. students empowered to ‘shift the vote’ this election

B.C. Federation of Students launches ‘Our Time is Now’ campaign

MEC and LUSH stores to close on Friday for global climate strikes

Retailers will be closed on Sept. 27 so that staff can march in demonstrations

Most Read