Imagine you were forced to move to a new community with no fences and no doors. Twenty to 30 times a day, dire-bears the size of F150 pickup trucks wandered into your neighbourhood, intentions unknown.
On occasion, one will get aggressive and chase you or your kids. On a weekly basis, one or more of your neighbours gets torn to shreds by one of these terrifying animals.
Would this feel like a good place to live? Would you let your kids play at the park? How would you feel walking for groceries, knowing that, any minute, a creature from your nightmares might suddenly appear to chase and possibly kill you?
How much would you dread arriving home to find your babies slaughtered in their beds?
Well your "friendly" dog is the dire-bear of the GVRD nature preserve. It is big enough that it can kill birds and small mammals, and when you let it chase a duck, it is acting on instinct and will kill if it can. That duck has fledglings that cannot fly and are incredibly vulnerable. The best result is traumatized animals; the worst is a dead brood.
So what you see as a pleasant walk at Derby Reach Park with your offleash dog [Walkers give leashes short shrift, May 15 Going Off Leash, Langley Advance], a biologist sees as a dire threat to one of the handful of natural, protected spaces in the Lower Mainland.
Metro Vancouver needs to step up its information and enforcement campaign at Derby Reach. More signs like the "fish live here" signs that we see near creeks would really help.
I'm sure that most owners, if they knew how sensitive the ecosystem is (especially at this time of year), would respect the park, but many I have talked to have no clue, because no one has bothered to inform them.
Blair King, Langley