Ken­nel dis­pute needs com­pro­mise

The Sudbury Star - - OPINION - Thomas Price White­fish

As an ad­viser to Coun. Michael Vagnini, I would like to clar­ify some points in a let­ter to the ed­i­tor re: a free-range ken­nel in Ward 2.

I at­tended the meet­ing at the writer’s ad­dress with the coun­cil­lor to hear peo­ple’s con­cerns. After­wards, he ex­pressed his sym­pa­thy for their sit­u­a­tion, in­di­cated he would look into the mat­ter, left his con­tact in­for­ma­tion and asked to be kept in­formed. There were no dis­cus­sions be­yond that.

As a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of all con­stituents, the coun­cil­lor also spoke to the ken­nel owner to hear their con­cerns.

In re­search­ing the sit­u­a­tion, it be­came ap­par­ent that in­no­cent er­rors by the city re­sulted in the ken­nel owner, af­ter hav­ing made con­sid­er­able in­vest­ment, dis­cov­er­ing years later they are out of com­pli­ance with a 30-year old zon­ing by­law. It is equally ap­par­ent that most ken­nels in Greater Sud­bury are also out of com­pli­ance.

Be­ing out of zon­ing com­pli­ance due to an er­ror can be fixed by a vari­ance amend­ment to the zon­ing for the ken­nel prop­erty. The vari­ance is be­ing re­sisted by the com­plainants due to what is claimed to be a noise prob­lem cre­ated by dogs bark­ing at the ken­nel. Bark­ing com­plaints, when in­ves­ti­gated, have been in­suf­fi­cient to jus­tify a warn­ing to the ken­nel owner.

The ken­nel owner had noise mea­sure­ments taken by the same en­gi­neer­ing group the city uses. They found no ev­i­dence to jus­tify a warn­ing.

The coun­cil­lor has per­son­ally tried to de­tect the noise lev­els be­ing re­ported, as have I, with­out suc­cess. At the times when most com­plaints were made and within about 200 me­tres of the ken­nel, other dogs in the area could be heard bark­ing and, at times, muf­fled bark­ing from the ken­nel could be heard. This does not pre­clude that, at times, sharper bark­ing might be de­tected.

While this work has been in progress, signs have been near the ken­nel at­tack­ing its ex­is­tence, mak­ing hopes of mediation un­likely.

The coun­cil­lor has looked for com­mon ground for me­di­at­ing a suc­cess­ful co-ex­is­tence. So far, there has not been any soft­en­ing of po­si­tions.

The writer lives about 800 me­tres from the ken­nels. The is­sue is a 300-me­tre set­back re­quire­ment. Had the zon­ing re­quire­ment been met, the writer would have seen no dif­fer­ence from to­day.

The coun­cil­lor, the city and the ken­nel have been up­front in try­ing to find a com­pro­mise with­out suc­cess. Com­pro­mise will be needed by all to reach a fair and eq­ui­table so­lu­tion.

Got an opin­ion you want to share? Please send your let­ters to: sud.let­[email protected]­media.ca

Let­ters should be no longer than 350 words, must con­tain a name, city or town and a phone num­ber for con­fir­ma­tion pur­poses and are sub­ject to edit­ing.

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