Drama in Nelson dog issue imminent

Hardly a sleeper issue, the downtown dog ban is expected to once again come before council next month. - Bob Hall photo
Hardly a sleeper issue, the downtown dog ban is expected to once again come before council next month.
— image credit: Bob Hall photo

Council watchers got a preview of how heated debate around the downtown dog bylaw will be when the issue comes up for discussion next month.

As a formality at Monday’s regular council meeting, Councillor Deb Kozak presented notice of a motion that will be referred to the March committee of the whole meeting to discuss temporarily lifting the ban on dogs on Baker Street for a trial period from May 1 to October 31.

Before Mayor John Dooley had even read Kozak’s proposed motion, Councillor Robin Cherbo cut in to ask city staff if a notice of motion could be defeated.

Staff clarified that councillors would have a chance to vote on whether or not to refer the motion, but noted that voting in favour of referring the item doesn’t mean a councillor supports the motion — only that they are willing to discuss it further.

Evidently, Cherbo wasn’t in favour of even having the discussion. He opposed the motion, then demanded a recount after three councillors voted in favour — Kozak, Candace Batycki and Paula Kiss. With councillor Bob Adams absent and Donna Macdonald abstaining (she preferred the discussion be held at a public forum or special meeting, rather than committee of the whole), the motion passed 3-1. Cherbo asked that his opposition be noted in the minutes.

The motion will come back to the March 4 committee of the whole meeting for discussion.

Kozak said she expects representatives from the Nelson Business Association and a Nelson bylaw officer will be at that meeting speaking in favour of allowing dogs downtown.

“I’ve talked to all these groups and I think there’s a lot of support around this,” Kozak said.

If it’s the will of council, after the committee of the whole meeting, they can send the motion to a council meeting for voting. Because this matter requires a bylaw change, it would also need to come back to another council meeting for third reading and final adoption.



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