Monday, April 15, 2024
April 15, 2024

LCC declines advocacy in rooster noise issue

Salt Spring poultry enthusiasts worried they might run afoul of the island’s decades-old noise bylaws crowded into a meeting Thursday night, hoping for immediate support from members of the Local Community Commission (LCC). 

But after hearing a delegation from the Salt Spring Island Poultry Club extolling the advantages of keeping chickens and the rural lifestyle generally — and situations where sometimes-noisy roosters are important specifically — commissioners told the group the LCC had been advised by the Capital Regional District (CRD) legal team to avoid all but general discussion of noise bylaw infractions, due to a legal case currently underway. 

“I would prefer we not go into in-depth discussion of the matter tonight, just because I understand there is a court case pending and it’s important that we not take action that will be seen as interfering,” said LCC chair Earl Rook. “What I can say as chair is that the LCC has no authority specifically for bylaws and for bylaw enforcement. But we do act as an elected body of the community.” 

Commissioners explained the LCC’s role could be to bring a sense of the entire community’s desires regarding bylaws — such as the noise bylaw — to the CRD Board, who Rook said had been receptive. 

“Thus far the board takes us seriously,” said Rook. “If we have a well-considered recommendation on any topic that’s well thought-out, we can carry that to them and ask them to take action.” 

Any such advocacy, Rook explained, would necessarily be preceded by a Notice of Motion, allowing members of the public plenty of time to weigh in before the LCC acted on their behalf. 

“That way it’s published, people in the community get to see it, talk about it, think about it, give us some feedback,” said Rook. “And at that point, at the next meeting, we would discuss it amongst ourselves in public and take a vote on it.” 

Commissioners agreed it would be most appropriate to take up the broad issue at the LCC’s first meeting in April, by which time the specific litigation currently in process — addressing several noise bylaw infractions at a single Salt Spring Island property — may be resolved. 

“Given the understanding that March is when this will be before the courts,” said commissioner Brian Webster, “and out of respect for that process, I’m grudgingly willing to defer giving notice of motion and undertaking that discussion.” 

The meeting Thursday, Feb. 8 was the first LCC regular meeting to take place in the evening hours; commissioners had held town hall-style events previously, but without staff and legal notice those gatherings were relatively informal; during a town hall the LCC can listen but may not advance commission business. 

The next LCC meeting will be at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15 at SIMS. 

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