Call it a battle for the beavers.
Animal activists, including those on the city’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, want to see councillors pass new rules for how the woodland creatures — and their dams — are handled in the city.
“Typically in London, trapping is used. That’s the archaic method,” said Deb Harris, who until last month sat on the committee and is continuing to work on the issue. “Other municipalities have employed non-lethal alternatives successfully.”
Tempers flared in the beaver debate Monday when city staff asked council’s planning and environment committee asking for permission to continue trapping the animals if they pose harm to infrastructure, like drains.
That, members of the animal welfare committee, flies in the face of a June council decision requiring that administrators trap no more beavers until a report on other means of warding off the creatures is heard.
Coun. Bud Polhill, chair of the planning committee, pulled administrators’ request off the consent agenda, asking that a report come back at a later date with more information.
Members of the animal welfare group, who said they didn’t know about the staff request until late Sunday, hope that means they’ll get a chance to state their case. They’re prepared to make a report, recommending the city consider using tools to ward off the wildlife instead of removing those that pose a threat.
City engineer John Braam, under questioning from councillors, declined to discuss details of what happens to animals that are trapped, saying the city follows guidelines from the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Welfare advisory committee members argue animals that are trapped are killed, a practice they say has been abandoned in several city’s including Guelph, Oakville, and Richmond Hill.
Alternative options include setups called Beaver Deceivers, which prevent beavers from damaging culverts with dams, or Castor Masters, which prevent flooding typically associated with dams, committee members said.
Tuesday at city hall
- Council meets at 5 p.m.
- Will vote again on setting tax targets for 2013. Issue being reconsidered after a June 26 vote to work toward avoiding a tax increase resulted in a deadlock. Avoiding a tax increase would mean $25.6 million in cuts, city staff has warned
- Councillors also will consider upping the size of their expense accounts; a contract to overhaul Market Lane; issuing a request for proposals to help take over the former Normal School in Wortley Village; and a list of projects being submitted for federal funding.