Council voted on Monday evening to prohibit running dogs alongside cars within city limits.
With the exception of Coun. Niels Konge, the vote was unanimous to direct administration to add this provision to the dog bylaw.
“There’s been many whose dogs have been lost unfortunately to this practice,” said Coun. Julian Morse. “I’ve heard from a lot of residents on this saying that they feel it’s a practice that should be outlawed within the city limits.”
The amendment would include the sand pits, an off-leash area described as a “lawless zone” by Coun. Rebecca Alty during the debate.
Resident Steve Wasserman made a presentation to council to argue against the ban.
“To appease the few at the expense of the many, I’m sorry to me is just not the right thing to do,” he said, adding he has mobility issues that make running his dogs at the sand pits a necessity.
He insisted running dogs is safe, if the dog is well-trained.
The sand pits are one of four designated off-leash areas in the city, according to Simone Tielesh, a representative from the NWT SPCA told council. She argued in favour of a ban.
“It’s not necessarily a great form of exercise for the dog,” she said. “Dogs should be exercised at their pace, at a dog pace and not at a vehicle pace.”
She said the Great Slave Animal Hospital was also in favour of a ban after seeing five dogs killed this year.
Coun. Morse proposed a motion to create an exception for people with mobility or disability issues, which passed.
Administration was also directed to make sure the wording of the amendment would not lead to mushers training their teams getting dinged by the ban.
The amendment will come before council for a final vote in the near future.
Travel funds move
Some councillors are more equal than others, after council passed a motion allowing the reallocation of travel funds.
Originally, $50,000 was approved for all council travel to attend conferences and other events. In January, council gave each council member a budget of $5,500, but to date, only $10,100 has been committed, with some councillors maxing out their budget while others holding tight to their purse strings.
The new process will let councillors wanting to tap into additional funds come to council to have the expenditure approved.
Coun. Linda Bussey, for example, will be exceeding her budget to attend a homelessness conference in Winnipeg.
The motion passed with Couns. Julian Morse, Rebecca Alty and Shauna Morgan in favour. Coun. Niels Konge opposed the motion.
“I think there’s many reasons why councillors may choose not to travel,” he said. “And one of them could be simply a cost saving, doing what they can to not use city funds, to try to keep the funds in Yellowknife, to further the things that are important to that councillor.”
Bussey wins cucumber
Council harvested a crop of plaques Monday night with the presentation of the 2017 Gardening Awards.
What Acting Mayor Adrian Bell described as “the most exciting part of the agenda” wrapped up with a raffle, where Coun. Linda Bussey walked away with her very own prize.
Merlyn Williams presented Bussey with a cucumber he grew after walking away with his own award for the best greenhouse.
Gardening winners were presented with plaques and gift certificates donated by Arctic Farmer Nursery. The prize for residential landscaping went to Harold Andrejek and Andy Hutchinson, the curb appeal award went to Lenore deJong and the best flower garden prize was awarded to Sharon and Gerry Veerman.
Rudy and Gloria Reyes walked away with top honours for their manicured lawn, while Tom Money seized victory for his vegetable garden.
On the smaller side, best container garden went to Peter and Rhonda Merko, best pocket garden was awarded to Darren and Gina Willing and best rock garden went to Gail Leonards and Nola Carter. And the funkiest garden in town now belongs to Lian Vilan and Edwin DeLacrus.
“Gardening is a lot of fun,” said Williams. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s nice to get appreciated sometimes.”