Supporters and opponents of Victoria’s horse-drawn carriage industry packed City Hall on Thursday night to make their voices heard.
Council is set to hold a final vote on a proposal by councillor Ben Isitt to have City staff study the impact of phasing out the carriages by 2023.
A move met with anger from some and applause from others.
Dozens of speakers signed up to share their views on the issue.
“As a local resident who has to watch these horses day-in and day-out in my neighbourhood,” said James Bay resident Taylor Zavitz.
“I feel ashamed to be part of city that sees this industry as charming, a romanticized piece of what Victoria is supposedly about.”
“I’m shocked that were here tonight, there is absolutely no reason this has come forward to Council’s agenda,” said Donna Friedlander of Tally-Ho Carriage Tours.
“It was less than nine months ago that we provided extensive operation about this industry and how we operate, nothing has changed.”
Earlier, hundreds of supporters rallied in front of City Hall to denounced what they see as another attack on the industry that employs 70 staff in Victoria.
Concerns have been raised by the B.C. SPCA and others about the conditions horses work under.
Carriage companies have always maintained the industry is safe and say the are willing to take this fight to court.
The report from staff on the potential impact of the move should be presented to Council in September.