Frustration over a lack of commitment and follow through from residents who were asking for the right to keep backyard chicken coops has led most city councillors to be disappointed with the project and Coun. Bruno Tassone to make a motion that “by Oct. 15 all applicants must have all requirements done or the urban chicken pilot project is cancelled.”
A debate ensued about the merits of cancelling the project verses letting it continue and the amount of staff and council time the project is consuming.
Tassone gave a timeline that showed that this project has been in the works for two years. Only eight people applied for the project, six had backed out by May. Two were endorsed in June, neither of which showed up for the start-up meeting in July and have yet to comply with all of the requirements.
Of particular concern was that the project was designed to cover two summers and one winter and the late start-ups will now only cover one summer, providing less information for making a decision as to whether to continue to allow chickens after the pilot project.
“I’m disappointed in all of the people that were there banging on our door saying, ‘Hey you guys, let us do it,’” said Coun. Dan Rye. “Well, we opened the door and said go for it and they haven’t come forward. But if we cut it short now, future councils are going to have to deal with this issue again.”
“We promised 18 months, I think we give it 18 months,” said the project’s most ardent supporter Deb McIntosh. “It’s not that I’m not disappointed in those who talked to me year after year after year about their rights of having chickens and growing their own food — believe me, I am very disappointed in it.”
“I don’t understand — if you love chickens and you want to have them in your backyard, why can’t you meet the requirements?” said Coun. Florio Vassilikakis.
Several councillors didn’t want to scrap the project just yet so Tassone’s motion failed, but a succeeding motion to move the deadline to March 2018, which is a full year from the project’s start date, passed unanimously.
One of the final steps necessary to see the new West Kootenay Animal Centre come to pass was taken care of Tuesday night when council granted a development permit to the SPCA to construct the facility at 124 Heritage Way.
The city will be purchasing two LED solar-powered speed reader/indicator signs for use in areas where residents have reported concerns and complaints with vehicles speeding.
The signs can collect data on the speeds recorded, which will then enable the city to determine which areas are experiencing speeding and pass that information on to the RCMP. The signs themselves are often a deterrent as drivers get a visual reminder of how fast they are going.
Ads and grants
Council purchased a half page ad in the Kettle Valley Express Adventure Travel Guide to promote the city. The ad will cost $1,785 and be allocated from the city’s advertising budget. The guide is a cross regional travel guide designed to direct traffic down Highway 3. It has a publication of 50,000 copies.
Council approved grant funding to the Selkirk College Saints Men’s Hockey team for the sponsorship of a quarter page ad in the 2017/2018 program for $300 and a home game sponsorship package at the cost of $500. They also approved $800 to Castlegar Rebels Hockey for the sponsorship of advertising in the 2017/18 hockey season program.
Both sponsorships are very similar to 2016 agreements with the organizations.