Council must defeat motion to revisit dog leash decision
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012 06:00 am
Oh, my. Is it really possible that city council will revisit its decision to put dogs on a leash? Just when it appeared St. Albert was about to step out of the doggie dark ages, along comes Mayor Nolan Crouse with a proposal that would effectively maintain the status quo.
Make no mistake: St. Albert needs a bylaw that puts dogs on a leash except in designated off-leash areas. This is what other municipalities do and there’s a reason for that. Dogs – wonderful, exuberant creatures that they are – can be a menace to children, seniors or families out for a walk.
It’s not that dogs – or at least most dogs – are badly behaved; they’re just being dogs. They run, they chase birds and squirrels, they race past people on paths, they cut in front of kids on skateboards and bikes, they chase and sometimes attack other dogs.
That’s why they need to be kept on a leash. It is true that Lacombe Lake Park is inadequate as an off-leash area, but the answer to that is to find and designate other spaces where dogs can run free. It is no reason to step back from an on-leash bylaw.
Ditto for the mayor’s argument that drafting and enacting an on-leash bylaw will be too much work for city staff and council.
“This could be two or three or four sittings for council,” he said last week.
Perhaps, but such are the burdens of high office. And it doesn’t diminish the need to put dogs on a leash. When the mayor’s motion to revisit the new bylaw comes before council, it should be defeated.
Northern Gateway requires creative solutions
A couple of months ago, newspaper publisher David Black generated headlines with a remarkable plan to build a refinery in Kitimat to process bitumen that would be carried from Alberta to the coast via the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.
Black saw several benefits in the scheme: building and operating a refinery would create jobs; the refining process would lead to the export of value-added products (gasoline, kerosene, diesel) and not just raw material; in the event of a shipping accident, the refined products would float on the surface of the water. Much of it would evaporate, and the rest would be easier to clean up than bitumen, which is heavy and would sink to the ocean floor.
Black’s plan is likely to go nowhere. The economics of building a refinery are prohibitive. Equally important, having a refinery in Kitimat doesn’t address the problem of transporting bitumen via pipeline over the Rockies and across B.C.
Nonetheless, Black should be congratulated for his scheme, which is a welcome departure from the generally sterile tub-thumping that has come to characterize the debate over the Northern Gateway. If the pipeline is to be built – and it’s looking doubtful – it will require compromise and some creative thinking, If, for example, a key environmental concern is the weight of the bitumen, maybe some refining/upgrading can be done in Alberta so it wouldn’t sink in B.C. rivers.
In the same spirit of creative thinking, University of Calgary economist Jack Mintz has been looking at ways that B.C. might increase its share of revenues from Northern Gateway. His solution: imposing higher property taxes on the project.
“In fact, they (B.C.) have a special classification for pipelines and they can really pump up that property tax on pipelines if they want to get revenue,” Mintz said last week.
Here’s hoping that more clever ideas like those above emerge from the pipeline debate in the months ahead.