Ad Hoc committee set up to follow up feeding wild animals complaint

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When the topic came up a couple of weeks ago following a complaint of feeding animals and birds it was brought to council.

However, at the last meeting, Protective Services Director Richard Vallée note that he had not had direction from council as to what they wanted in regards to this issue.

“There is so many questions for this one because number one, the complaint came from the rural area and if we do a by-law for that, it will affect in all the townships including Glackmeyer. Leach, Blount, Lamarche and Clute. It isn’t a complaint that came from the urban it came from the rural and there is a lot of people who like to feed animals and hunt,” said Vallée.

He suggested that the two councillors who broached the subject consider a roundtable with his department to throw some ideas around and try to solve the issue.

“I don’t think by putting a by-law restricting everyone in the rural area will help the matter at this time,” he said.
Mayor Denis Clement noted “That is a good suggestion. I also believe that feeding wildlife animals is a responsibility of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). Maybe that could be clarified with this working group.”

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Councillor Robert Hutchinson told council “I send an email to MNRF and they stated that they would look into it. When you are feeding wildlife you are drawing in bears, coyotes and it is fairly close to town and you have neighbours right beside you. It makes it a dangerous situation if you are outside in the evening or your children are outside. I think we should take a real good look at this and see if we can’t do something.”

Councillor Rodney Hoogenhoud questioned Hutchinson on the email he sent to the MNRF. “You sent a email to the Ministry for clarification? Or what are you looking for?”

Hutchinson told the councillor that he was just questioning what the protocol was for feeding animals in the area.

Hoogenhoud also wanted to know if Protective Services followed up on the original complaint or because it was a rural issue the town felt that they didn’t need to get involved.

“There is no by-law against what the person is doing with this particular complaint,” said Vallée. “We haven’t had a request or complaint like this before, however, without direction you can’t continue to harass people if there is no by-law against it. I think if we had a working group to look at all the issues and not interfere too much with the enjoyment of people living in the rural area. We need a working group to solve this kind of issue.”

Vallée also told council that “Putting a by-law in place every time someone has a complaint might not be the right road to take.”

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“I would anticipate that the MNRF or some type of ministry would have been involved before based on hunters and on different activities where people are feeding birds or baiting for hunting reasons. I am sure there must be some solutions out there to solve this problem and communicate accordingly with each party,” said Hoogenhoud.

“Very good comment Mr. Hoogenhoud. The clerk did research quite a bit and contacted clerks in other communities on what they did, what kind of by-laws were out there for feeding of animals,” said Vallée.

He told council that some communities had a restriction on feeding deer but not specific to a category of animals. He continued to state that “you need a few people to get together and try to solve the issue at hand.”

Vallée invited Councillor Hoogenhoud to be part of the working group. “Yes, that would be an opportunity I would seek for sure,” said the councillor.

Councillor Hutchinson also said he would like to participate in the group.

So, Council voted in favour of forming an Ad Hoc committee to further investigate this issue.

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