Meadow Lake city council rejects horse bylaw

Jessie Schumacher, 11, feeds a horse belonging to her grandmother Eileen Piche, who lives at 620 Sixth St. East in Meadow Lake.

by Terry Villeneuve

They came, they spoke, they listened, they left – not impressed.

Three residents from Meadow Lake’s east side appeared before city council last Monday looking for an explanation regarding the proposed new animal bylaw that would see them from having horses in the future.

“We’ve all got questions,” said Donna Lowe, who formed a delegation with her partner Oliver Poitras and neighbour Eileen Piche. “When you annexed us into Meadow Lake (from the RM), we were told nothing would change. We were pretty much guaranteed of that and that’s why we went ahead and built a barn and corral.”

Lowe and Poitras have two horses at their 604 Ninth Ave. East residence while Piche has one at 620 Sixth St. East.

The Oct. 22 regular meeting was to be second and third reading, and ultimately passage of the new bylaw, which states, ‘no other purchasers would be allowed to put horses on the property but whatever’s existing there will be allowed until such time as they are removed’.

Interim city manager Richard Levesque told the delegation the city is looking to the future.

“Sooner or later that area will become a completely urban area,” he said. “And with the annexation of the Ducluzeau property, there will be more development, so I guess what we’re saying is that we’re trying to establish that horses will have to be phased out of that area.”

Lowe asked why now?

“How have the horses there been affecting anyone. Has there been any complaints?” asked Lowe. “So if one of our horses died, are you saying we can’t replace them?”

Levesque confirmed the statement, but then threw out a compromise.

“If we revise the bylaw to allow what’s there for existing horses, the number that’s allowed under the bylaw, and have that last until ownership of the property changes or some other instance comes into play,” he added.

Piche, who has lived in the area since 1986, felt it was workable.

“That sounds better than saying we can’t have any,” she said. “Because right now we’re thinking about getting another to keep the one we have company.”

Lowe, however wasn’t as quick to agree.

“If I decide to sell, and they’re buying specifically because of the barn and the corral – and they can’t bring in a horse – what are they to do with four acres of land and all that grass,” she asked.

Mayor Gary Vidal noted the current bylaw states residents are entitled to one horse per acre, up to five horses.

“You have to realize that in the existing bylaw, there’s a 30-day provision that you could be asked to remove your horses anyway,” he said.

If a neighbour complained about the horses and it was a valid complaint, council could consider giving the owner a 30-day notice to remove the horse.

“So, if somebody buys behind my place and decides they don’t like my horse, all they have to do is complain and he’s out,” Lowe said. “They’re buying that property knowing full well there are horses there. Why is it my responsibility to get rid of that horse to please the guy who comes in after the fact?”

Later in the meeting, council defeated the new bylaw with Vidal stating council would revisit it in the future.


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