I read with interest about the potential new “clientele” being considered for ridership on Roam transit. My experience with this “clientele” hasn't been the most positive, and probably less so with their respective owners. I can indeed confirm that the same experience is echoed by many throughout the Bow Valley.I chose to take a quick stroll near the Canmore public boat launch and then along the Bow River this past Feb. 9. Well, before I reached the latter and deposited on the trail a mere 45 seconds into my walk was dog excrement in all of its beauty. Sadly, this dog feces was within a mere 150 metres of the “mutt mitt” station.
Needless to say, the elevated requirements are such that all the responsible dog owner had to follow was the simple three-step directions and the dog poop would have been dealt with. With my walk completed, I chose to get rid of some recycling. There again, within steps of my cardboard, was yet another canine deposit – perhaps the misguided responsible dog owner thought the latter would magically evaporate, disintegrate or levitate absolving him/her of all responsibilities.
These two events are not a new story to anyone who has spent minutes on any of the Bow Valley's trail systems. It happens all the time and of course, responsible dog owners are never to blame and how dare you suggest otherwise. Now – and I’m stating the obvious – if these responsible owners can’t get this right, what makes one delusional enough to believe that they’ll magically morph into responsible owners when multiple wheels are beneath them?It's all well and good that commission memberTanya Foubert recommends rules to establish "appropriate behaviour for both dogs and their owners.” Excuse my lack of enthusiasm, but Ms. Foubert needs to look no further than the deposits before her feet to realize the effectiveness of these rules. She states “the responsibility is on the owner to ensure their dog is behaving appropriately.” Really? I very much doubt that some “clientele” would behave appropriately because simply put, their owners are absolutely incapable – or unwilling – of doing the same.
So, let’s then invite them on the Roam bus via a discussed pilot project and see where this goes. What could possibly go wrong? Should this insidious pilot project proceed, and on those rare occasions I do take the Roam transit, I'll be sure to don my bear spray for dog and owner behavioural issues and wear my rubber boots. It's not if, it's when.
As commission chair Joanna McCallum said: let's “make decisions for everybody.” That seems obvious.
Finally, the last paragraph in the Outlook’s story is probably the most salient of all with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind chiming in concerning the stress that can be experienced by both guide dogs and their disabled owners since “for people who are blind or partially sighted… the bus may be their only transit option.”
Blind or partially sighted to these palpable concerns is what I do not hope for with respect to all Roam transit policymakers concerned.
Succinctly put: scrap this lunacy.