Horse-drawn carriage parking stall rental extended to 6 years

Horse-drawn carriage parking stall rental extended to 6 years
File photo of a horse drawn carriage operating in Victoria.

Victoria’s committee of the whole has voted to extend the parking stall agreements for the horse-drawn carriage companies for six years, rather than the four years that staff proposed.

The agreement for the three horse-drawn carriage tour companies to operate out of parking stalls on Menzies Street has expired, so Victoria staff brought the motion back before council to consider re-issuing them.

Staff initially proposed giving the three companies another four years in the agreement, which would then expire on Dec. 31, 2028.

Coun. Matt Dell amended the motion to issue a 10-year agreement to the companies, which was then further amended to six years by Coun. Jeremy Caradonna after other councillors raised concerns about the length.

“I am swayed by the fact that these businesses have significant capital investments both in equipment and animals, and they’re looking for assurance,” Dell said when introducing the amendment.

“In Vancouver, there’s a 20-year lease, which allows you to purchase horses, which are exorbitantly expensive. So this is just a bit of a nod to the value of these groups provide.”

When staff was asked why the four year limit was proposed, staff noted it was just to stay in line with what had previously been approved by past councils.

The amendment to increase the length of time for the parking stall agreement to six years instead of four passed 7-1 with only Coun. Dave Thompson opposed. This means the parking stall agreement will now expire on Dec. 31, 2030.

In addition to the increase in length for the parking stall agreements, council unanimously agreed to ask staff to come back with bylaw amendments that would mean staff would have the authority in the future to decide whether to approve the agreement extensions, without it needing to come back before council.

Staff will come back to a future meeting with language and conditions that would outline the parameters for which they could extend the agreement, and conditions that would mean the decision would have to come before council.

The committee of the whole also amended the agreement for the parking costs to be able to be adjusted as city staff see fit.

The current rate the businesses pay per stall is set to be what the city believes it would receive if these stalls weren’t otherwise occupied. Given that parking rates are regularly increased, council wanted staff to have the authority to increase these fees as parking fees are adjusted.

The motion as a whole passed 5-3, with Thompson, Coun. Susan Kim and Mayor Marianne Alto opposed.

Ahead of this decision by council, CHEK News spoke with animal rights activists who wanted to see council impose regulations on the businesses to ensure they are taking the horses’ welfare into consideration.

However, one of the horse-drawn carriage company owners argued that wasn’t necessary, as they already implement protections for the horses and that they are well loved and taken care of.

READ PREVIOUS: Parking allocation contract for horse-drawn carriages up for renewal

-With files from CHEK’s Mackenzie Read

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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