June 22nd, 2024

County seeks feedback on animals in hamlets

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on January 12, 2023.

Herald file photo Lethbridge County is looking for feedback on whether to allow certain animals, such as horses, llamas, cows, chickens, ducks, turkeys, sheep, and goats, within hamlet boundaries.

Lethbridge County Council is looking for feedback from the public on whether to allow certain animals within hamlet boundaries.

Current Animal Control bylaws in the County do not permit any livestock or fowl in hamlet areas, which include Fairview, Kipp, Monarch, Shaughnessy, Diamond City, Chin, Iron Springs, and Turin. Council is hoping to hear from hamlet residents and property owners on whether a small number of livestock or fowl should be permitted within hamlet boundaries.

“This was largely citizen-driven,” said Reeve Tory Campbell. “There was a delegation that presented to council back in July 2022, asking council to take a harder look at our then current Animal Control bylaw. The ask was entertaining the idea of having a little bit more flexibility towards livestock in our hamlets. From that initial touch-point and that introduction to council it has evolved from there. Council did end up giving a first reading to a proposed bylaw, and as part of that process we are reaching out to the public and asking for feedback from residents of our hamlet.”

Passing first reading of the amended bylaw, it would allow property owners up to five animal units in a hamlet depending on the size of the property. A bylaw must pass three readings to take effect.

“We are talking about animals like horses, donkeys, llamas, alpacas, cows or steers, chickens, ducks, turkeys, sheep, and goats. Animals of that nature,” said Campbell.

A hamlet, as explained by Alberta.ca, is a municipal district of a community that consists of five or more dwellings and has an accepted boundary that contains land that is used for non-residential purposes.

“Our staff have created an online survey and the beginning of the survey starts with identify, if the person taking the survey is a hamlet resident, and then identifying what hamlet they reside in,” said Campbell. “The intent is to gauge where the public is on this and how close to the numbers that we have in the first reading of the bylaw. Are the numbers high or low or adequate?”

Hoping to gather feedback from the community, Council hopes to work out a bylaw that fits within the general consensus.

“Following the process of the first reading, we would like to have a public hearing, potentially giving a second and third reading,” said Campbell. “If the feedback comes back that maybe we are out to lunch a bit on the numbers we could adjust the bylaws as council sees fit, hopefully coming to a place where, from my understanding, council thinks there is an appetite to make some changes to be a little more flexible as to what is happening in our hamlets regarding livestock. Council is open to the idea of entertaining changes, and I foresee us making changes one way or another. But hopefully we can get some robust feedback and some direction from the public as to what they would like and we can move forward from there.”

The survey is available online at whatshappening.lethcounty.ca/animal-control-bylaw, or the public can call the Lethbridge office at 403-328-5525. The deadline to submit feedback is Feb. 17, and results will be reviewed at the upcoming Council meeting before a decision is made on whether to adopt the bylaw.

“I would encourage our hamlet residents to log on,” said Campbell. “The survey is available through the county’s website. Log on, take the survey, and provide us with some data that we can take into consideration when making our decision.”

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