With all the attention being paid to the downtown - its crime rate, the problem properties, debates over developments - you'd think one small detail like keeping downtown streets clean wouldn't be so difficult to accomplish. But that detail becomes much more problematic when dog owners strolling the town centre think it's appropriate to leave their pets' heaping, stinking pile of feces lying in the middle of sidewalks.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't bother writing an editorial on excrement, but in the 14 months I've worked in the downtown, and the few weeks I've lived here, I've become shocked at how much dog feces I discover on our downtown sidewalks. I'm haunted by dog poo. At practically every corner, I have to dodge yet another disgusting mess and hold my nose as I pass by. It's baffling.
Since a bylaw prohibits off-leash dogs, I am forced to believe that pet owners stand there, one leash length away, patiently waiting for their dog to do their business, and when the little darling is done, just walk on by leaving a heaping, stinking cake behind.
Where's the dignity? Do dog owners not cringe when seeing the same mess day after day, knowing who left it there? The district-run Sustainability Corporation has put a substantial amount of time and money into surveying, compiling, reporting and debating the pros and cons of a downtown Business Improvement Association (BIA). Our current Squamish Town Centre Association (STCA) is focusing much of its energy on bringing entertainment and outdoor markets to the core, all in order to attract crowds. We also have at least one notable bike race a year finishing in the downtown, which draws hundreds of people.
That's all well and good, but I will hang my head in shame if our anticipated mobs walk our streets in their current state. Call it old fashioned, but I was raised to make sure there's no stinking mound lying around when hosting visitors.The district's job is to keep sidewalks swept, and I can well imagine that they have a hard time keeping up. A number of doggy bag boxes have been installed throughout the area's walking trails to encourage dog owners to pick up, and one STCA-sponsored box exists in the downtown.
But the message doesn't seem to be clear enough. Do taxpayers really have to foot the bill for downtown pick up stations?
If that's what it would take to allow visitors to look up at the downtown's gorgeous view instead of down at the disgusting droppings, I'll pitch in.