(left) Coyote Awareness Sign – (right) Nip Spooner Park at Blue Shores
Collingwood Council discussed the ongoing coyote issue at its regular meeting on Monday April 16th. It was a follow up to a spirited discussion that took place at a meeting of Corporate & Community Services Standing Committee on Monday, April 9, 2018 in the Town Hall Council Chambers.
At that time it became apparent to the committee that the growing problem facing east end residents, and in particular people living in Blue Shores and along Georgian Manor Drive, has escalated to the critical stage. At the end, the Town committee took action and amended the staff report to be handed to Town Council.
There were tears, there was anger, there was great concern for safety and there was good discussion about the problem at hand.
Coyote Concerns Collingwood Web Site Addresses Collingwood Concerns
The meeting began with a passionate deputation by Collingwood Resident Jeff Brown. He made committee members aware of a web site www.coyoteconcernscollingwood.com. The web site was established to share information to address concerns of coyotes in Collingwood from residents’ perspectives with references to opposing government funded coexistence campaigns.
Brown invited people to sign an online petition, easily accessed on the web site with the purpose being to help bring awareness and pressure action by the Town of Collingwood.
Then, for more than 40 minutes, resident after resident approached the podium to tell a similar story of how their lives have been negatively impacted by the presence of coyotes in their neighbourhoods.
A Georgian Manor Drive resident stated that she has lived in the neighbourhood for many years, but the coyote problem has only become a problem over the past year.
Another resident said a Facebook group has been established in her neighbourhood allowing neighbours to update each other on the latest coyote sightings. She then said she ventured outside her door armed with an air horn and golf club for protection.
Another resident said neighbours had resorted to taking sticks and knives with them when they take their dogs out for a walk.
A visibly upset Blue Shores resident said he let his 13 year old dog out the back door one evening and it didn’t come back. The dog’s torn apart body was found a short distance away.
Concerned residents stated that they are afraid for the safety not only of pets but for small children and many said they felt it wasn’t safe to let their children play in Nip Spooner Park, adjacent to the Blue Shores neighbourhood.
I believe that this immediate threat should be addressed
— Councillor Kevin Lloyd
Councilor Kevin Lloyd said that the immediate threat to the east end residents needs to be addressed before secondary issues outlined in the staff report are dealt with.
“I believe that this immediate threat should be addressed before we put in place the other methods of dealing with this. I think this immediate threat is to this community is viable, it’s imminent and it should be addressed quickly.”
Lloyd said it has been demonstrated that it is necessary to remove this particular coyote pack quickly and get the east end residents back to living a normal life.
A person in the audience asked Lloyd what would happen when the coyotes come back.
“Well you know what, we’ll remove them again. I’m an animal lover but these people are going through a situation that they should not be going through. It’s not right. It’s our duty to look after them, not the coyotes.”
Councillor Cam Ecclestone supported the motion but said dealing with the immediate problem may be a short term solution to a greater situation facing east end residents.
“If the solution were to trap and euthanize the coyotes I’d be all for that to remove the threat from your area, but it appears that from everything that I’ve read this isn’t the solution because you’re going to have coyotes from another area come in and take their place.”
Councillor Tim Fryer said it is a very difficult and tough situation to make a clear cut decision about.
“We do have a problem. We have to recognize that may be only certain options and we have to decide whether or not to exercise those.”
Collingwood Animal Rights Advocacy Group Online Petition Has Over 830 Signatures To Protect The Coyotes
Sarah Abawi of the Collingwood Animal Rights Advocacy Group presented an opposing view, stating that eliminating the coyote pack would only result in the pack or a different pack returning to the area. She said instead the Town should work to coexist with the coyotes, going as far as to list benefits of having coyotes in the region, referring to them as being ‘nature’s cleanup crew.’
The Collingwood Animal Rights Advocacy Group also references an online petition, to save wildlife in Collingwood.
However at the end of the discussion it was obvious that the Town had a serious problem in the east end that required immediate attention, and the committee amended the staff report and then voted in favour of passing it to full Collingwood Council for further discussion.
The motion to approve the staff report was amended.
“that the committee receive the staff report and request staff report back to council on the investigation of various options to remove the immediate threat in the east end of town.”
Motion was passed unanimously and the matter was passed on to Collingwood Council for further discussion on April 16th.
Here is the original motion:
Staff Report #C2018-10
THAT Council receive Staff Report C2018-10 for information;
AND THAT Council approve and support the Coyote Management / Communication Plan and practices in place regarding co-existence with coyotes, enhancing the public education and awareness campaign,
AND FURTHER THAT Council request assistance from local physicians, veterinarians, wildlife experts and residents, regarding coyote encounters / conflicts with pets and humans, in order for the Town to collect and monitor further data against baseline information to determine if a coyote trapping program should be supported in areas where it is determined that coyotes have become habituated and may pose a higher risk in a localized area of the community.
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