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City document a dog’s breakfast for daycare

Confusing wording in a city document led to misguided criticism of senior city staff at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

It began with a delegation from Campbell River resident Kimberly Dorrington, a professional dog trainer trying to open a doggy daycare.

Dorrington said she and her partner have run into several roadblocks throughout the process.

“With this growth comes growing pains and Ryan and I are sort of experiencing the stretch marks,” Dorrington told council. “This will give you an idea of how much difficulty that we’ve run into.”

She then explained that the city currently does not have an appropriate zoning for a doggy daycare.

To try and remedy the problem, city staff had a report in front of council suggesting council amend the city’s zoning bylaw to include Pet Services as a permitted use within the Commercial Two (C-2), Commercial Four (C-4) and Industrial One (I-1) zones.

Pet Services would be defined as “a commercial establishment wholly or primarily within an enclosed building providing any combination of daycare, grooming services or training services, for domestic animals...and not include overnight boarding.”

Further, the animals would not be allowed outside for more than three hours during the business day.

The problem came when Dorrington read the draft of the proposed bylaw, which breaks down the three zonings in question and appears to single out Commercial Two and Commercial Four zonings to allow pet services only “wholly within an enclosed building.”

Dorrington said that was unreasonable.

“We feel C-1 and C-2, to keep dogs in the building and not even be allowed to let them go out to go to the bathroom is impossible,” Dorrington said.

Coun. Larry Samson agreed and was unimpressed staff even came forward with the amendment.

“As the delegation said, where do you take them when they have to use the bathroom, when you want to exercise the dogs?” Samson questioned. “

You’re in the middle of August and you’re expecting a business such as this to be wholly enclosed within a building?

“I think it’s unreasonable. I think staff has to do a better job of when they present us with something like this.

“So I urge that we reject this and we urge staff to come back with a more reasonable bylaw.”

But just one hour later it appeared Samson and Dorrington had misinterpreted the draft bylaw.

After the council meeting was over, Ross Blackwell, the city’s land use manager, said that he spoke to Dorrington outside council chambers, after her delegation, and he explained to her that all three zonings – including Commercial Two and Commercial Four – would allow animals to be kept either “wholly” or “primarily” within an enclosed building.

“We worked with them and they’re fine,” Blackwell said.

But it may not be the last time council hears from Dorrington.

The issue will go before a public hearing as council proceeded to pass first and second reading of the zoning amendment to add pet services as a permitted use under Commercial Two, Commercial Four and Industrial One.

Should the amendment pass and Dorrington goes ahead with her plans, she said her business will be the first doggy daycare of its kind in Campbell River.

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