These are cats that were trapped, neutered and returned back to property owners who promised to feed and shelter them. — Photo submitted CatSpan

Qualicum Beach council interested in impact of free-roaming cats

Presentation referred to environment and sustainability committee

It seems the impact of free-roaming cats had a lasting impact on Qualicum Beach town council.

At the May 29 (May 29) council meeting, Coun. Anne Skipsey brought forward a motion to refer a presentation made by DG Blair of the Stewardship Centre for B.C. on the impact from free-roaming cats on birds and wildlife to the select committee on environment and sustainability. The motion passed unanimously.

In her presentation to council on May 1, Blair said free-roaming cats are really impacting bird populations and in some bird species, there has been a decline of 90 per cent. She also gave an overview of resources for municipalities and pet owners to improve the health and welfare of cats, birds and wildlife.

Skipsey said if a local educational campaign is deemed desirable, there may be an additional opportunity for the town to pilot a public awareness program.

Coun. Neil Horner, who is a fan of birds and a bird owner himself, said he strongly supported the motion to refer Blair’s report.

“I hear about the incredible damage that free-roaming cats do. Millions and millions of birds are killed every year by these creatures,” Horner said.

Also at the May 29 meeting:

• Council directed staff to investigate and attempt to identify the offenders that repeatedly dump household refuse next to garbage cans at the Heritage Forest.

• Council directed staff to prepare a flyer for distribution to residents bordering the Heritage Forest regarding fire safety principles and procedures.

• The houskeeping bylaw, which is meant to clarify minor issues in the zoning bylaw, was given third reading. These amendments include the number of allowable garage sales in a calendar year and changing the definition of “retail” so marijuana sales are not permitted.