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Chicken, rabbit bylaw should remind us of past mistakes

As Sidney considers allowing chickens and rabbits, we should think back to our past struggles with rabbits

I am a firm believer in the concept of lessons learned, either through direct experience or by the experience of others. I am puzzled by the June 15 article about town hall’s drafting of bylaws to permit rabbits and chickens in Sidney. Earlier this year one Sidney resident challenged the bylaw banning rabbits with a presentation to council.  Chickens are one thing, rabbits are quite another.

Not that long ago countless news stories described the impact of rabbits on University of Victoria grounds and Oak Bay residential property. Damage and costs incurred were staggering. There was much debate and hand wringing over solutions to address the rapidly growing population. After much debate and great cost, the rabbits were eventually captured, some were treated, others were euthanized. Survivors were shipped to other B.C. regions or to our neighbours in the south.

I am astounded that Sidney would consider permitting rabbits in light of Victoria’s recent experience. Could council be unaware of the potential impact? A crystal ball isn’t required to forecast the real potential for negative impact in Sidney, the ensuing debates and costs that will be incurred by taxpayers to address such a predictable problem.

Council has not completed due diligence or an impact analysis. If they had, I suspect they would not be considering a draft bylaw. It is incumbent on elected representatives to evaluate the potential outcome of decisions and address community concerns prior to implementation. To act on the request of one resident without gaining community support is not defensible.

We already have problems with overpopulation of Canada geese and deer on the Peninsula; do we really want to add rabbits? Once again it appears that our concerns have fallen on deaf ears at city hall. Sound familiar?

Helen Watt