Council voting on ban on feeding wildlife

Duane Hicks

Coming forth as a recommendation from the Planning and Development executive committee, council will vote tonight on a bylaw that prohibits the feeding of wild animals, excluding birds, squirrels, and chipmunks, within town limits.
The bylaw comes after the issue of feeding deer was brought forth in December by local resident John Nelson, who had concerns about vehicle/deer collisions, the destruction of gardens, and the possible spread of chronic wasting disease.
Nelson strongly encouraged council to pass a bylaw to outlaw deer feeding, adding Dryden and Kenora already have such bylaws in place.
At that time, council referred the issue to the Planning and Development executive committee for review.
The bylaw before council tonight states: “Council deems the feeding of wildlife to contribute to the destruction of private property and increases the potential for unpredictable, aggressive, and dangerous animals, and increases the potential for contact and spread of infectious diseases, and increases the potential for vehicular collisions.”
It also states that: “Council deems the feeding of wildlife to cause a threat to public health, safety, and well-being to the residents of the Town of Fort Frances.”
The bylaw will apply to all land within the corporate limits of the Town of Fort Frances.
No owner or occupier of land within town shall intentionally feed, cause to be fed, or make available food attractants (food products, pet food, feed, pellets, vegetables, grain, fruit, or salt) or other substances for the consumption of wildlife (meaning any animal which is wild by nature and not normally domesticated in Ontario, excluding birds, squirrels, and chipmunks) with the boundaries of Fort Frances, on either private or public property.
No owner or occupier of the land also shall place or allow to be placed any device (feed stands, salt blocks, etc.) for the purpose of attracting or feeding wildlife.
Anyone currently with these devices either shall remove them or modify such a device to prevent wildlife from having access to feed from it.
The bylaw, which would be enforced by the bylaw enforcement officers or OPP officers and carry a fine up to $5,000, shall not apply to:
•bird feeders using bird feed only;
•any natural product that is growing on a particular land owner or occupier where the wildlife is feeding;
•private vegetable gardens, flower beds, and related compost stations;
•licensed wildlife custodians that are the legal owner of the wildlife, and the wildlife is kept under a valid certificate or permit, and is in compliance with any provincial or federal permitting requirements; and
•registered and private land trappers, licensed bear management area operators, wild game farms and wildlife, or animal control agencies operating within the corporate limits of the Town of Fort Frances.
Tonight’s council meeting is scheduled to start at 7:10 p.m. The committee of the whole will meet first at 5:30, but is expected to be in-camera until 6:32.
Other business at tonight’s council meeting will include:
•a police services activity report from A/Insp. Steve Shouldice;
•a project update from Public Sector Accounting Board project co-ordinator Meghan Haehn;
•an activities report from economic development advisor Geoff Gillon, who also will give the town an invoice for its share of the Northern Ontario Economic Development Fund (NOEDF) project;
•a letter of resignation from Connie Schwartz from the Fort Frances Public Library Board effective Jan. 16, 2009;
•a request from K. Gaudette to proclaim March, 2009 as “Epilepsy Awareness Month” and March 26, 2009 as “Purple Day” in the Town of Fort Frances;
•a bylaw to amend Bylaw 35/79 regarding the use of off-road vehicles within the Town of Fort Frances;
•a bylaw to amend Bylaw 66/90 regarding the use of motorized snow vehicles within the Town of Fort Frances;
•a bylaw to assume, stop up, and close a lane;
•a bylaw to approve agreements with the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. (NOHFC) for financing post-secondary co-op work placement under the Northern Ontario Youth Co-op Program;
•a public access defibrillator agreement;
•a La Vallee fire chief agreement;
•a NOHFC Technology Centre agreement;
•a report regarding the town’s cell phone use policy;
•a report listing 2009 conferences;
•an agreement regarding the town’s closed meeting investigator;
•a financial request from the Safe Communities Rainy River District;
•a report regarding a policies review; and
•a report regarding the committee of the whole meeting venue.