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Charitable road tolls and backyard chickens: Council presentation

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Aaron Sloan, manager of municipal law enforcement for Kawartha Lakes, had charitable toll roads and chickens on his mind in a recent presentation to council.

Charitable road tolls are typically when a group of people takes over a major intersection in Lindsay and when the flow of traffic allows, solicits donations from the people waiting to drive through.

These individuals, representing a city-approved charity or non-profit, will spend the day at that intersection collecting money from individuals stopped at the lights.

While the fire department “boot drive” is probably the best known of all the charitable road tolls, many other groups have found this option an effective way to meet a lot of people in a very short time and raise substantial funds for a good cause without having to go door to door or elicit significant overhead costs by engaging in a mail based campaign.

The charitable road toll typically takes part over a morning or afternoon and the intersection of choice is often at the lights directly in front of the Lindsay Square Mall.

Sloan shared with council that there had been concerns from the public about these campaigns and their presence at busy intersections.

“We want to increase the safety requirements and financial visibility of these events,” Sloan shared, “because they are municipally authorized.”

Councillor Andrew Veale wanted to know if other municipalities have rules in place to ensure public safety and financial accountability.  Sloan was unaware of others that do.

Sloan also added that the city will likely request a full financial accounting of how much money was raised by the group hosting the charitable road toll.

Bylaw staff will report back to the city sometime in the last quarter of 2020 with their final recommendations about this issue.

Backyard Chickens

Sloan then switched gears to the question of backyard chickens in urban areas.

In 2019 a deputation with over 400 signatures was made to council in support of backyard chickens.

“Currently, backyard chickens are illegal,” Sloan explained, “and having chickens in an urban area violates zoning by-laws, building regulations and health and safety protocols currently on the books. The presence of roosters also presents a noise issue.”

“Other municipalities, including Kingston, have backyard chickens in place,” Sloan added.

Councillor Patrick O’Reilly wanted to know if the 400 signatures were all from one area. Sloan said there were a variety of signatures from all over the city.

Councillor Tracy Richardson and Councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan shared that they support the idea of backyard chickens “as sustainable living is the way to go.”

Councillor Ron Ashmore was concerned that bylaw is already two months behind with their regular paperwork, and wondered whether a report like this would put the department even further behind?

“I will do the report myself,” Sloan promised, “and staff will likely not need to be involved.”

“I hope this to be an amendment to the Animal Control Act,” he added.

Councillor Pat Dunn commented that there was interest in backyard chickens during the past municipal election and was interested in the discussion led by Sloan.

Sloan will submit a final report to council sometime in the last quarter of 2020 on his findings and proposals regarding chickens and chicken coops in urban locations like Lindsay.

Kirk is a retired high school history teacher and coach who has had a lifelong interest in politics at all levels. Since retiring, Kirk has spent the last three years doing freelance writing of all kinds for various platforms. Kirk can often be found sitting in the press gallery at City Hall observing and reporting on the vagaries of local government.

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