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Village of Halkirk council hosts 20 community members during bylaw discussions

The June 21 Village of Halkirk council meeting was a raucous affair.

Around 20 people, some of whom preregistered with the village and some of whom didn’t, attended the meeting to speak both for and against a number of bylaws the municipality is working on.

The bylaws being discussed included a nuisance and unsightly property bylaw, an animal control bylaw, a campground bylaw, and a campground fee bylaw.

By far the topic generating the most discussion was the proposed animal bylaw, which would see owners limited to three dogs as well as the requirement of licensing the animals. Costs for licensing is $25 for a fixed animal or $35 for one not spayed or neutered.

Concerned citizen Yvette Allen, who registered to speak, spoke in favour of the bylaw suggesting that cats be included in it for registration as well, though owners who exceed the three pet maximum should be grandfathered in.

“I honestly believe that those who have animals wouldn’t be opposed to registering, that’s how all municipalities do it,” said Allen.

“I do believe the majority of people will come forward.”

Others questioned the need for any of the new bylaws, to which Coun. Sherry Jamieson responded that the bylaws are necessary and stemming from the recent viability review of the village.

“These are things we have to do in short order,” said Jamieson.

Another topic spoken to was the nuisance and unsightly property bylaw, which a resident named Doris spoke to.

Doris related that when she bought a mobile home in the village several years ago, there were trees on the south side of the trailer just across the property line with roots infiltrating her property. She stated that she had asked the neighbour about taking them out, which was declined.

The resident alleges that due to the root infiltration her home now sits off-level and the value has decreased by 50 per cent and a bylaw would have resolved the issue.

“If people don’t want a bylaw, what do we do,” Doris asked.

“The real estate (agent) told me I can’t sell it like this.”

The nuisance and unsightly property bylaw would give the village permission to go in and clean up properties that failed to meet the standards and have the costs associated charged back to the tax roll.

A final discussion was centred around the Halkirk campground, and the bylaw which included a proposal to increase the nightly rate to $25 from $15.

“I don’t believe its feasible to increase it to $25,” said Allen.

“It’s unrealistic.”

Allen, and several others, noted that while more urban centres with power and water hookups could get away with charging $25-30 a night for camping, it didn’t seem reasonable for an off-the-beaten-path campground without utilities or a highway sign to do the same.

With the feedback received for all the bylaws, council made the decision to table further readings of the bylaws until chief administrative officer Tamara Sloboda has an opportunity to do some revisions on them and bring them back to a special council meeting scheduled for July 7.

Halkirk residents will have until June 30 to suggest any other changes to the four bylaws before Sloboda begins the revision process.

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