Back­yard live­stock rais­ing con­cerns

CBRM staff to pre­pare is­sue pa­per on sub­ject

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY NANCY KING

Ear­lene MacMullin re­calls a visit to one home while on the cam­paign trail in her North Syd­ney dis­trict last fall where she was greeted by the res­i­dent rooster.

While the fowl was gen­er­ally a “friendly lit­tle guy” and a pop­u­lar mem­ber of the com­mu­nity, MacMullin said her own ex­pe­ri­ence with him took a bit of a turn when she came call­ing.

“I have never been more afraid of an an­i­mal in my en­tire life, and I’ve been chased by dogs,” MacMullin said.

The is­sue of the keep­ing of live­stock an­i­mals in densely ur­ban ar­eas was brought to Cape Bre­ton Re­gional coun­cil re­cently by Dist. 11 Coun. Ken­dra Coombes.

In her memo to clerk Deb­o­rah Camp­bell, Coombes noted the odour and noise as­so­ci­ated with the an­i­mals was caus­ing an­i­mos­ity among some neigh­bours and that fel­low coun­cil­lors have ex­pressed frus­tra­tion with the lack of a by­law re­lat­ing to the keep­ing of live­stock. Coun­cil sup­ported Coombes’ re­quest that staff be di­rected to pre­pare an is­sue pa­per on the sub­ject.

Dist. 6 Coun. Ray Paruch noted he had had a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one from Coombes’ dis­trict who raised the is­sue with him.

“When you hear what the neigh­bours are putting up with in this par­tic­u­lar is­sue and the lack of any kind of deco­rum or any kind of de­cency, it’s just over the top,” Paruch said.

Dist. 9 Coun. Ge­orge Mac­Don­ald said he’s re­ceived nu­mer­ous calls from Glace Bay res­i­dents over the years with sim­i­lar com­plaints.

“We’ve had chick­ens, we’ve had pigs, we’ve had roost­ers, we’ve had ev­ery kind of pos­si­bil­ity … so I’m glad it’s com­ing for­ward,” he said. “I know it’s a con­tro­ver­sial one.”

MacMullin said there are cases where live­stock are be­ing kept with­out is­sue and it will be a del­i­cate bal­anc­ing act to ad­dress all the var­i­ous cir­cum­stances. Mayor Ce­cil Clarke also raised the is­sue of 4-H projects, which of­ten in­volve the rais­ing of an­i­mals.

Direc­tor of plan­ning Mal­colm Gil­lis noted that the mu­nic­i­pal plan­ning strat­egy and land use by­laws gen­er­ally don’t per­mit agri­cul­tural op­er­a­tions in ur­ban res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hoods.

“But when John Doe or Jane Doe chooses to have a few chick­ens or a goat or a pig in the back­yard … and gives the an­i­mal a name, it gets very dif­fi­cult when you get be­fore a judge in the Supreme Court of Nova Sco­tia to say that in fact what this per­son is do­ing is oper­at­ing a farm,” he said.

Gil­lis said the op­tions likely open to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity in­clude the adop­tion of a nui­sance by­law or an­i­mal con­trol by­law, but that will be dealt with in the is­sue pa­per.

Dist. 8 Coun. Amanda McDougall noted the im­por­tance of also ad­dress­ing the con­cerns of those peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in pro­vid­ing their own food and ex­am­ples of suc­cess­ful ur­ban gar­den­ing, while also be­ing re­spect­ful of neigh­bours.

Dist. 1 Coun. Clarence Prince noted that some res­i­dents aren’t con­cerned with the live­stock it­self but rather with the at­trac­tion of rodents in some cir­cum­stances re­lated to the feed.

Deputy Mayor El­don Mac­Don­ald noted that if a by­law is drafted, en­forc­ing it will be an­other mat­ter that the CBRM will have to deal with.


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