OPINION: Squamish pinch points

With spring in full bloom and summer just ahead most folks are out and about enjoying life in this little patch of paradise. But more than a few of us are getting steamed up about a budding list of pesky pinch points.

One nagging concern is the proliferation of unsightly cigarette butts on sidewalks, roadsides and pathways. Last year’s record wildfire tally is a stark reminder that those who engage in potentially hazardous practices need to give their heads a shake.

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And in a town that appears to have more dogs per capita scampering around than any other jurisdiction in the land, there are plenty of opportunities for pooch-related squabbles.

Persistent violations of leash and dog poop management bylaws are the prime suspects. Local social media comment pages are awash with discussions about owners who scoop their pet’s burnt offerings into plastic bags and then pitch the whole works into the surrounding grass or trees.                                                                                                               

Recently, a resident who was on an outing with his son, reported that he came across upwards of 50 doggie doo-doo bags strewn haphazardly along the route. He said even his four-year-old understands that kind of behaviour is wrong.                                                                                                                                    

We are not unique when it comes to wayward pet ownership. One fed-up resident in a small village in England fastened the following advisory note to a fence post near a well-travelled path: “Want to start yoga? Start by bending over and picking up your dog poo, known as the ‘downward dog position.’ THEN PUT IT IN A BIN.”

Speaking of pinching a loaf, canine or otherwise, with the arrival of warmer weather numerous complaints have been registered about campers who set up digs on the Stawamus River in Valleycliffe and figure the area doubles as a public toilet. Apparently, similar unsightly messes have been noted in various other locations around town.

But relatively speaking, those scatological concerns are a trivial matter. They are bound to take a back seat to the growing traffic congestion downtown, the escalating cost of gas at the pumps, and a lack of affordable housing. A lot of people have also come to the troubling conclusion that due to the high cost of living they have too much month left at the end of their last paycheque.

For whatever reasons, many of us are getting considerably more stressed out and we appear to be a bit testier and a tad more aggressive these days. Under those circumstances, minor misunderstandings have the potential to turn into heated verbal and sometimes even physical confrontations.   

This is not the same laid-back, easy going community it was just two decades ago.

Let’s hope we’re just suffering from a predictable display of growing pains and sooner or later our customary level of civility will prevail.

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@ Copyright Squamish Chief

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