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					                  MANAGEMENT PLAN ADVISORY GROUP FOR
          THETIS LAKE, FRANCIS/KING AND MILL HILL REGIONAL PARKS

                                       Thursday, March 4, 2004
                               Upper Floor Meeting Area, Cedar Building
                                     Mill Hill Headquarters Office
                                          490 Atkins Avenue
                                                7 – 9 pm


                                                  MINUTES

Present: Tom Baker, Mark Hawkes, Lynn Husted, Denise Kendall, Jacques Marc,
Michael Meagher, Mary Noakes, Robert Raappana, Janet Williams, Darrel Woods and four
members of the public

CRD Parks: Jeff Ward (chair), George Gollmer, Don Watmough, Diane Knight (recorder)

1.      Approval of Agenda

        The agenda was approved.

2.      Approval of Minutes from January 17, 2004

        The minutes were approved.

3.      Draft Dog Management Agreement

        Jeff Ward sent information out to members in advance on the format for this meeting.
        Each member of the group was permitted five minutes to express their views about the
        draft dog management agreement and indicate which of the following statements they
        supported:

        Option 1.         I support the agreement with no changes.
        Option 2.         I support most of the agreement with some changes (be specific about
                          what changes are required; and
        Option 3.         I do not support the agreement (be specific about your reasons for not
                          supporting the agreement).

        Tom Baker, Volunteer Park Warden, indicated support for Option 2 – Tom stated that he
        thought the agreement was a good compromise. He was concerned with the statement
        “off leash” indicating that he would be more comfortable with the statement “off leash
        and under control”.

        Don Watmough, CRD Parks Planner, indicated support for Option 2 – Don stressed the
        importance of implementation and monitoring in this plan and that there are still many


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        outstanding information gaps. CRD Parks will continue to acquire more information on
        the parks. He would like to see Scafe Hill as a sanctuary with no bikes, horses or dogs.

        Lynn Husted, Victoria Natural History Society, selected Option 1 – Lynn noted the need
        to provide context in the agreement such as a rationale for why dogs were not appropriate
        on Seymour Hill. The agreement should include the three reasons:
        ∙ the significant ecological value of that area
        ∙ to provide a dog free area to give people who were not comfortable around dogs a
          place to go where they would not encounter dogs
        ∙ to use this as a control area to compare the difference between dog areas and dog free
          areas.
        She noted a concern that this agreement appears to be for dogs only and should be
        consistent with other park uses as well. It would be helpful to include a map indicating
        the damage to the park and pictures of damage to justify why decisions were made.

        Mike Meagher, Thetis Park Nature Sanctuary Association, selected Option 3 – Mike felt
        that this agreement does not meet CRD Parks’ mandate of protection of the natural
        environment. He suggested that more information is needed to base decisions on and that
        statistics show dogs need to be confined to a leash to protect areas. This agreement does
        not address the concerns in the park and is not realistic. CRD Parks should initiate a
        policy that requires an ecological inventory for all parks. Dogs have free reign of the park
        now. He will submit his concerns in writing.

        Mark Hawkes, Dog Owners Representative, indicated support for Option 2 – Mark noted
        that his list of concerns omitted the action that CRD Parks install stairs around the
        Lakeshore Trail if dogs are required to be on leash in that area. He feels that this
        agreement will not make any difference and that the only way to achieve compliance
        would be to collaborate with dog owners. How are CRD Parks going to enforce this
        agreement when they could not even enforce the previous regulations? He commented
        that we have ignored the doggy bag dispenser request. He feels that having the Lakeshore
        Trail on leash has not been justified. Mark suggested that CRD Parks create a park
        stewardship program and make all park users stewards of the park in a new and
        progressive way; use volunteer dog wardens; concentrate on information and education;
        and involve kids. He stated that the strategies in this agreement should be consistent for
        all park uses.

        Jacques Marc, Member at Large, indicated support for Option 1 – Jacques commented
        that the number of dogs in Thetis Lake Park will only increase and it is not realistic to
        keep the status quo.

        Darrel Woods, Member at Large, supported Option 1 – Darrel noted that all user groups
        have agreed to some limitations and most of his concerns will be met by the ongoing
        monitoring by CRD Parks. He does have a concern with having West Beach off leash all
        year as young children like to use that beach during the summer.




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        Denise Kendall, Outdoor Club of Victoria, supported Option 1 – Denise expressed a
        concern with having Thetis Lake as an area for dogs off leash. She felt that it may be up
        to municipalities to accommodate dogs off leash and mountain bikers.

        Bob Raappana, Member at Large, supported Option 1 – Bob stated that Thetis Lake is a
        very pristine park and has to accommodate a lot of people. The impact on the park is
        from the sheer number of dogs using the park. There has to be more management of
        people in the park and this is a good starting point. He agrees with having a stewardship
        program with membership from all park user groups. This would ensure implementation
        of the management plan. Dog management is an issue that has to be dealt with by the
        CRD and municipalities and work needs to be done to accommodate dogs off leash in
        other areas. He commented that doggy bag dispensers are vandalized and are very
        expensive and suggested that the responsibility for picking up after dogs be the
        responsibility of the owners and not CRD Parks. The reason for the lack of enforcement
        of the previous regulations was that they were unenforceable. Bob commented that the
        group has already compromised with the recommendations outlined in this agreement.

        Mary Noakes, South Island Mountain Bike Society, selected Option 3 – Mary felt that
        Thetis Lake is a special place and that dogs can be off leash in other areas of the region.
        The decision was made to have dogs on leash because of the increase in the number of
        dogs. She agrees with the original draft management plan recommendation to have dogs
        on leash on all trails. Mary will submit her comments in writing.

        Janet Williams, Capital Regional Horse Owners Associaton, supported Option 2 – Janet
        commented that the draft recommendations in the original management plan were arrived
        at after years of deliberation and there was give and take by all user groups. She has
        concerns with the Centennial Trail near the north border of the park being an off leash
        area as it is a sensitive wetland. She made the suggestion that CRD Parks use target
        enforcement at Seymour Hill. Janet felt that 18 months is a fair trial period. She had
        another concern with the equestrian trail at the north end of Francis/King Regional Park,
        and suggested that after monitoring, the results may change trail designations. She also
        noted that the actions and wording under the Thetis Lake Regional Park section of the
        agreement were not consistent and a smoother flow to the order of the actions was
        needed.

        Summary of support for Options indicated:

        Option 1. (5) I support the agreement with no changes.
        Option 2. (4) I support most of the agreement with some changes (be specific about
                      what changes are required; and
        Option 3. (2) I do not support the agreement (be specific about your reasons for not
                      supporting the agreement).




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        George Gollmer commented that we are protecting the park for future generations and he
        has concerns with Scafe Hill being an enforceable area. The majority of complaints about
        dogs have been about the Lakeshore Trail. Trail designations have to be simple and
        realistic to be enforceable by staff.

        The question was raised on how long it would take to implement the actions. Jeff
        responded that the new design for Thetis Lake Regional Park entrance may be started in
        12 months but in the meantime CRD Parks could implement some actions such as
        communication, education, signs and fencing. The goal is to implement the actions of the
        agreement as soon as it is approved by the CRD Board.

4.      Outstanding Issues

        Stewardship Group. The group stated that a stewardship group be included as part of the
        implementation plan. Jeff reported that the stewardship group would have a new Terms
        of Reference.

        Dog Representative’s Interests. The advisory group reviewed the following list of points
        that the dog representative would like to see included in the agreement:
            1. A dog off leash area for Mill Hill. Don Watmough indicated the proposal was for
                the field by the parking lot to stay status quo and permit dogs off leash but would
                not be formally signed as such.
            2. That stairs be built on the Lakeshore Trail. The group agreed to this.
            3. That the Upper Thetis Lakeshore Trail be off leash year round. The group
                disagreed with this point.
            4. That McKenzie Creek trail be off leash and that trails near the creek be relocated.
                The group agreed to leave this as a dog on leash area.
            5. Minimum of 3 splash areas. The group agreed to this.
            6. That dogs be off leash on the upper west section of the Centennial Trail and
                connecting trail from south side of Heritage Grove to the power line trails. CRD
                Parks will look at this point and report back to the group.
            7. That conversion of the upper section of the existing equestrian trail to multi-
                purpose use through safety improvements such as widening and separation from
                Munn Road using vegetation or fencing be done. The group agreed to this.
            8. That CRD Parks provide a minimum of one doggy bag dispenser at each trail
                head. The group disagreed with this point.
            9. That the agreement does not include a dog feces clean up day. The group
                disagreed with this point.

        The Dog Management Agreement. Tom Baker remarked on the importance of including a
        clear definition of on leash and off leash in the agreement.

        The comment was made that more context be provided with the bullets in the agreement
        to make the rationale for decision making clear and to use more context when finalizing
        the management plan. The group requested that a preamble be included in the agreement
        to give it more context.


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        The revised agreement will be sent to the group for final review and comments. Jeff
        requested that the group come prepared to indicate their level of support for the
        agreement at the next meeting.

        Next Meeting. The next meeting will be March 29th, 7 – 9 pm.

5.      Public Questions

        One member of the public commented that Thetis Lake is only busy during the summer
        and that dog owners make up 90 percent of the park users the rest of the year. The people
        using the park make it a better place and make for healthier people.

        Another member of the public thanked the group for visiting the Citizen Canine website
        and supported working together with CRD Parks to resolve the dog management issue.
        She noted an event held on February 21 and how well the dog community worked with
        authority groups.

Meeting Adjourned at 10 pm.



                                       Next Meeting:
                                       March 29, 2004
                                       7 – 9 pm
                                       CRD Parks Headquarters
                                       490 Atkins Avenue




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