Whether it was park land or pigeons, the room was abuzz with discussion at the Monday night council meeting in Trail.
A handful of members from the Glenmerry Citizens Group attended council to question the number of residents whose signatures were declared invalid on its petition which opposed park disposal bylaw 2750.
On April 2, Joanne Crossman presented city hall with 905 signatures on a petition to oppose the bylaw which would allow disposal of park land property on Rosewood Drive in Glenmerry.
Even though only 598 signatures were required to defeat the bylaw, Crossman questioned why only 798 signatures were deemed valid.
“If people are passionate about this bylaw and took the time to listen to us and sign,” she said. “How do they get their voice and their vote to you.”
Michelle McIsaac, corporate administrator, explained that the city used a voters list from Elections B.C., dated Jan. 13.
“I can let you know that the petition was successful in achieving the number of signatures required,” said McIsaac.
“So it’s not to say that this is a matter of being discounted, but anecdotally I can let you know that many of the signatures that were not counted weren’t from our area.”
Crossman countered that the disqualification of so many signatures had many residents upset.
“Especially new voters and those who are new to the community,” she said.
“We had to tell them that we don’t know if your signature is going to count even though you are passionate enough to sign.”
Later in the meeting, the park land disposal bylaw was officially abandoned due to the cost associated with taking the issue to referendum;
which is costly when not held in conjunction with a general election.
“If land development remains a priority then it can be discussed at the upcoming strategic planning meeting and it can be revisited then,” said McIsaac.
Mayor Dieter Bogs conceded that the bylaw has certainly been an ongoing issue in the community and that he would make it an item of discussion at the next strategic planning session to discuss council’s position on the issue.
“While we’ve improved our communications within the city over the last year and a half in terms of what we push out; I don’t know if we are doing the best job in terms of how we gather information and bring it back in,” said Coun. Kevin Jolly.
“I’m not sure what that process will look like going forward, but we have to have a better two-way dialogue so we don’t find ourselves in a position like this again, in the not too distant future.”
A few feathers were ruffled before council moved on to vote and adopt two bylaw amendments which are aimed to oust pigeons from the Silver City’s limits.
The first, animal control bylaw amendment 2752, prohibits the feeding of the pesky critters on both private and public lands.
Changes to the animal control bylaw are part of an overall program to reduce the number of pigeons in our community and reduce the nuisance they can create, said McIsaac.
The second amendment, which attaches a $100 ticket to residents caught feeding the birds, sprouted a discussion on the efficacy of such a fine.
Coun. Sean MacKinlay said that “catching someone dropping a piece of bread,” will be as difficult to enforce as a similar bylaw regarding a fine for not picking up after one’s dog.
Incidentally, the later bylaw has resulted in zero tickets being dispensed.
“Dropping bread on the ground doesn’t compare to someone deliberately feeding pigeons on an ongoing basis,” countered Coun. Jolly.
“That has an outcome of destroying entire roofs and droppings all over our bridges.”
Coun. Derosa agreed that there are too many pigeons in Trail, but he doesn’t agree with the methods being used to reduce their numbers.
“I don’t agree and I’ll never agree to fine somebody for feeding birds.”