TRURO – As soon as word made it to a large crowd gathered outside the Colchester county municipal offices, cheers broke out.
They were just informed councillors defeated a proposed kennel development bylaw that had been on the agenda for second reading. First reading was during their Aug. 9 committee meeting, and added to the agenda at the start of that meeting.
When Mayor Christine Blair called for a motion, Counc. Geoff Stewart was the first to speak.
He said there was not an opportunity at the Aug. 9 meeting to look at the draft beforehand, something he tries to do.
“With this, I have to take some of the responsibility,” he said. “I try to understand the council package before we get to our meetings and prior to the meetings to understand the content. This last minute item and its ramifications obviously was not understood by me. I wasn’t thinking quick enough and I should have moved for a deferral or table this correspondence at a later date for a chance to study it.”
Stewart was the one to make the motion to defeat the proposed bylaw – and sending it back to the planning advisory committee – with Counc. Ron Cavanaugh as the seconder.
But Stewart wasn’t the only councillor to admit to not reading the information before voting to move it to second reading.
Deputy Mayor Bill Masters said he, too, was “in the same view as the rest of the councilors.”
“I have taken responsibility for not reading the package,” he said.
Lloyd Gibbs said the first time he saw the proposed bylaw was when it was laid on the table at the Aug. 9 meeting.
“If I had the opportunity to read some of the stuff that was in it I wouldn’t have agreed to it at all,” he said.
Gibbs told those around the table and in council chambers that he used to have his own kennel and one female would often have 15 puppies almost every time she gave birth. The proposed bylaw had limited the number of puppies to 11.
“So to limit that to 11, I don’t know who came up with those numbers,” he said.
Gibbs is hoping that when the planning advisory committee revisits a kennel bylaw, they’ll include input from those in the business from the community.
Masters would like to see the county include on their website information regarding the planning advisory committee’s steps taken, how much time is taken on issues, and when the public can provide input.
Mike Cooper said the proposed bylaw was like a “black cloud over the office”. Two days before the meeting, 100 people rallied outside the county office. Truro’s fire inspector attended the Aug. 30 meeting to make sure the chambers was not over capacity. People lined the hallway outside, while others gathered in the parking lot.
Cooper said he spoke to a number of people on the issue – on the streets, over the phone, and via email.
“I certainly wouldn’t have gotten the depth of what I got from all the people that contacted us,” he said about the information in the proposed bylaw. “It really shows me that we need their expertise.”
Council unanimously voted to defeat the motion.