Proposed ruling bites the dust
Council sends kennel by-law issue back to Planning Advisory Committee for further study
A contentious proposed bylaw that would have prohibited establishing dog kennels in Colchester County was soundly defeated.
In an apparent response to public pressure, council unanimously voted not to proceed with second reading of its Kennel Development By-law, at their recent meeting.
Instead, council sent it back to the Planning Advisory Committee for further study over the next three to five months.
The by-law’s defeat was met with loud applause from the packed public gallery at the Aug. 3 meeting. Cheers also erupted from a large crowd gathered outside the municipal building. when word of the vote got out.
The by-law as written was “intended to prohibit any kinds of Kennels for the boarding of dogs in the Municipality of Colchester.”
It also contained a number of other restrictions regarding dog ownership and would have applied to existing operations.
“Council’s decision means no moratorium or ban on kennel development in Colchester County,” Mayor Christine Blair said, in an emailed statement following the vote. “The proposed interim by-law is defeated and off the table. The Planning Advisory Committee will take a fresh look at land-use planning to enable kennel and related business development that best fits all Colchester com- A large crowd of dog owners and supporters turned out for the recent Colchester County Council meeting to voice opposition to second reading of a proposed dog kennel by-law. The by-law was unanimously defeated.
munities, the environment, and the well-being of animals,” she said.
“This work will be done with full public and stakeholder participation leading to a recommendation for council to discuss and decide on.”
Coun. Mike Cooper described the fallout from the proposed by-law as having created a “black cloud” over council.
And based on conversations with constituents, Cooper said, it was clearly communicated to him that while “a properly done by-law” is needed, “… we need to defeat this by-law.”
Coun. Geoff Stewart described the situation as “a clear case of what can happen without clear and concise communication.”
“It was a last-minute item (on the Aug. 9 agenda) and its ramifications were not clearly understood by me,” he said.
And while accepting his own responsibility in voting in favour during first reading of a proposed by-law he didn’t fully understand, Stewart also took issue with media coverage.
“It was clearly stated at council that night that this was a temporary measure and again it was repeated the next day. But not once in any of the media cover-
age was it put in the media at any point in time that this was a temporary measure.”
In the initial story reported by the Truro News on Aug. 23, however, it was stated in comments provided by Blair, that the bylaw was intended to be temporary while other land-use and planning issues were being clarified.
“I think the main point here is this is a temporary by-law until we have had a chance to complete an assessment on the current by-law and bring back a revised by-law ... as was agreed to a couple of months ago,” she said at the time.
That aspect was not lost on many readers who posted online comments indicating they did not trust the bylaw would remain temporary, in the same way that the federal income tax was supposed to be temporary when it was introduced in 1917 during the First World War.
The proposed by- law prompted much attention on social media and led to a protest march from Bible Hill to the municipal building earlier in the week.
“There is a lot of passion out there,” Blair said, following the vote.