Bylaws against excessive noise and for keeping livestock — except for chickens — outside of residential backyards were given first reading by Red Deer city council on Monday.
Proposed regulations for keeping shopping carts within retail parking lots were also given initial approval. But these stirred dissent.
Several councillors spoke out against proposed rules that would fine retailers who don’t make some effort to control or secure their carts on their properties, as well as penalizing people who abscond with the carts.
Coun. Michael Dawe said fining businesses would be like revictimizing retailers, who already have to pay to replace their stolen shopping carts. (Council was told each cart costs $1,200 to $1,500.)
Coun. Cindy Jefferies could not support a bylaw that would create unintended consequences. Businesses should not have to pay to get stolen carts out of an impound lot, as was proposed, said Jefferies. But she also didn’t think the city would be able to collect fines from the indigent people who often take the carts.
Mayor Ken Johnston and Coun. Vesna Higham felt Red Deerians wanted to see this problem addressed.
Higham noted stolen shopping carts are sometimes used to transport stolen property. She suggested administration explore different ways of dealing with the problem — without fining retailers. More information will be brought back to council on second and third reading in six to eight weeks.
Meanwhile, council discussed the challenge of enforcing rules against excessive noise. The proposed bylaw amendment could include a decibel limit for a vehicle while idling and while in operation, with a penalty of $250 for non-compliance.
Coun. Dianne Wyntjes asked if someone could report a noisy vehicle’s license plate if it disappears before a bylaw officer shows up. Inspections and licensing manager Erin Stuart responded they could — and that a video could also be turned over to the city that records the loudness. City bylaws officers could seek verification from other neighbours.
Several options related to residential noise were presented for Council’s consideration, ranging from very broad to very specific regulations.
Coun. Bruce Buruma said he’s heard from Bower residents who are fed up with noise from regular protests held at Gaetz Avenue and Delburne Road. Council was told the city’s municipal police members would be prepared to assist with the RCMP response to these complaints.
Initial rules against keeping livestock within municipal limits were unanimously approved for Red Deer’s Community Standards bylaw, along with penalties for breaches of the bylaw. Second and third readings are scheduled for the May 9 regular City Council meeting.
Council supported keeping horses, mules, donkeys, swine, emus, ostriches, camels, llamas, alpaca, sheep or goats out of residential backyards or garages. The same prohibition would also apply to domestically raised deer, reindeer, moose, elk or bison, farm-bred fur-bearing animals, such as foxes or mink, and bovines. Also on the no-no list are turkeys, ducks, geese or pheasants and other animals kept for agricultural purposes.
The only animals allowed to be kept within city limits would be cats, dogs and other domestic pets and backyard chickens.
The livestock bylaw amendment is intended to fill a gap until a full animal bylaw can be approved by council, by the end of 2022. Stuart said there is a need to address this now, to address the ever-increasing volume of inquiries for residential livestock.