Doggy daycare bylaw goes back to square one after Campbell River mayor invokes review

The mayor invoked a rarely-used power at Tuesday’s council meeting to turn back the clock on a decision made by council last month.

Mayor Walter Jakeway, under section 131 of the Community Charter, requested council reconsider a bylaw that would allow pet services as an accepted use under Commercial-2 (C-2), Commercial-4 (C-4) and Industrial zonings.

Under section 131 of the Community Charter, it states “the mayor may require the council to reconsider and vote again on a matter that was the subject of a vote.”

In this case, council, at the Jan. 22 council meeting, defeated a motion to give the bylaw third reading and adoption.

“The reason I see I need we needed to re-consider it is on Wednesday morning after (the council meeting) there was confusion even among our senior staff and I’m wondering what happened the night before,” Jakeway said. “And I’m sure some members of council have the same feeling – a little bit of confusion. Even though we all read the same words, I don’t think we got the same meaning out of it.”

He said things became more clear after new information was brought to light following council’s vote on the motion that, if passed, would have allowed Kimberly Dorrington and business partner Ryan Pickard to open a doggy daycare in either C-2, C-4, or Industrial.

That information was translated to council through an e-mail from Dorrington who said there seemed to be a disconnect.

“We are not totally sure where the break down in communication was between what we wanted, what the city suggested and what powers are available in terms of moving forward with this,” Dorrington wrote in her e-mail. “To have the entire thing shot down was a little shocking to say the least, and it is my belief that council may not have been aware that they could have made their own changes – whatever they saw fit: approved only part of the bylaw (example: approving Industrial One and excluding the commercial zones from the bylaw), or directed city staff to figure something out.”

Adding to the confusion was the fact Dorrington had previously approached council asking for city staff’s definition of pet services to be changed. The definition stated that under C-2 and C-4 the dogs could only go outside for a limited amount of time and had to be primarily enclosed within the building. Dorrington wanted the pet services definition in the two commercial zones to match with the one proposed for Industrial, which would have allowed the dogs to be outside for up to three hours every day.

At the time council defeated the motion, Coun. Mary Storry thought the bylaw, as written, was not what Dorrington wanted and felt the term “primarily enclosed” would be “problematic.” Storry subsequently defeated the motion along with councillors Larry Samson, Claire Moglove and Mayor Jakeway.

Moglove didn’t think it was appropriate to have a doggy daycare, with dogs cooped up all day and barking, alongside commercial businesses like coffee shops and restaurants.

But days after the motion was defeated, Dorrington told Coun. Samson she would be okay with C-2 and C-4 having limited outdoor access in the bylaw.

“The way the bylaw is worded right now would be okay with us because we would be in a position to change an individual property to ‘partially’ instead of ‘wholly’ (enclosed) in a C-2 or C-4 zone,” Dorrington said.

Ross Blackwell, the city’s land use manager, explained during the Jan. 22 council meeting that a proponent could apply for a spot variance to the zoning to allow for extended outdoor use.

Taking into account Dorrington’s position, council on Tuesday voted to refer the matter to a public hearing for the second time. As per provincial statutes, because council received information after a public hearing, held originally on Jan. 8, the matter cannot legally go back to third reading but must be deferred to a public hearing where council will have the opportunity to ask questions and listen to further information.

The public hearing cannot be scheduled for at least two weeks to allow the city sufficient time to provide notice of the public hearing. That’s making Dorrington, who has her eye on a couple of properties, anxious.

“There is one property available in I-1 (Industrial-1) right now that I would like to get my hands on but I can’t even approach the owner until this is dealt with and passed (probably another six weeks) and by that time it might be too late,” Dorrington said. “There is also a place at the airport that could work well too, but that zone is not even in the proposed bylaw. The big thing for me right now is time. I am running out of it, rapidly. So my hope is that council will just adopt the bylaw this time without all the confusion.”

City Clerk Peter Wipper said the second public hearing would “certainly be scheduled as soon as possible” which could mean having the public hearing on a different night than a council meeting.

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