OUR VIEW: Parks are public spaces

A recent spate of letters show there’s some disagreement between park users within the Saanich Peninsula area.

A recent spate of letters to the editor show there’s some disagreement between park users — and park users who own dogs — within the Saanich Peninsula area.

The issue has the potential to explode (relatively speaking) into endless bickering over what is, in essence, an argument about manners.

When people visit a local park for any number of reasons, they are expecting to enjoy themselves. Few people are expecting to be accosted in any manner and also hope to have enjoyable encounters with their fellow park users.

If you’re not really wanting any of those things, ask yourself why you are in a public park in the first place.

People go outside and to parks for many reasons. Some to walk and hike, others to run and bike and others to walk their pets.

Public spaces are set up as just that — areas where people can go to enjoy some outside time.

It must be shared in a respectful manner.

In parks where all sorts of users are allowed, space must be respected. It’s the old “do unto others as you, yourself would like done unto you,” or however the saying goes.

Any self-righteous assertion that you are entitled to enjoy your public space dog-free, or jogger-free or bike-free is probably the only thing that should be banned from public spaces where co-existing is the name of the game.

And of course, the key to co-existing in these public spaces is treating each other with respect.

For dog owners, this means keeping your pet under control at all times. For non-pet owners, this means recognizing that people get outside for many reasons — not just your reason.

In all cases, since this is the outdoors and not a controlled space like an electronic device, be ready for the unexpected. How you react to that is entirely up to you and not anyone else. If you choose to react strongly to a dog and its owner, or to a walker reacting to your pet, you’re only making things worse.

Parks are public spaces and are meant to be enjoyed by anyone. The only limits on their use are the limits we place on ourselves — and what we think we are entitled to when we go outside.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Funds raised through off-road cycling event will help improve Central Saanich bike trails

Tripleshot Cycling Club presents $3,000 cheque to Nature Trails Society

Strong winds expected in Greater Victoria Friday evening

Winds are expected to ease Saturday morning

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

Esquimalt arsonist sentenced to two years in jail, thanks police, defence lawyer and taxpayers

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

Three Saanich councillors ask for $2-M investment into District road safety

‘I don’t want roads to be safer in 30 years, I want them safer now,’ says Coun. Ned Taylor

VIDEO: The Victoria byelection leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Jan. 17

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Most Read