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Courtenay considering banning dogs in cemetery

Dog owners may soon be prohibited from bringing their pooches to the Courtenay Civic Cemetery.
Courtenay council passed the first, second and third readings of a bylaw amendment Monday, which would ban dogs from the cemetery, with the exception of working police dogs and service dogs.
According to a staff report, the amendment is due to "an increasing number of people using the cemetery as a 'dog park.' "
Dogs are now permitted in the cemetery if they are on a leash and owners pick up after them.
But, the report notes some people have let their dogs "run freely," leading to feces left on graves and disturbances in the scattering garden.
Coun. Doug Hillian pointed out that people who let their dogs off leash and don't pick up their feces are already breaking the rules, and a complete ban would penalize people who are following the rules.
City director of legislative services John Ward said a complete ban would be easier to enforce.
The amendment will come back to council for a final reading before the ban would be enforced.
• • •
A provincial grant Courtenay uses for local RCMP services will be less than it has received in past years.
Courtenay will receive $799,396 for 2012-2014 from the Strategic Community Investment Funds program. It received $964,256 for 2009-2011.
"These are funds that we have begun to rely on to help defray our local policing needs," said City director of financial services Tillie Manthey.
"If the traffic fine revenues are withdrawn by the Province, either suddenly or gradually, we will have to find other sources of revenue."
According to a staff report, this funding covers two police officers, which will cost $302,000 in 2012. Manthey also noted that funding pays for some police equipment each year, and Mayor Larry Jangula added that the grants  pay for the Citizens on Patrol program.
Manthey also cautioned council that the bulk of the money coming will be during 2012, with $465,210 on the way, followed by $198,024 in 2013 and again in 2014. Manthey added that the City normally keeps the funds in reserve to use the following year, so there is an ongoing reserve.
She spoke to the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development on Tuesday, and told the Record that staff there didn't know what the grants would be like past 2014. However, Tillie said at this point and time, Ministry staff expect the funding to continue.
• • •
Council voted down a motion asking for more information and local government exemption from a trade agreement being negotiated by Canada and the European Union.
Alex Turner of the Comox Valley Council of Canadians presented some concerns around the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) to Courtenay council at the Feb. 13 meeting.
Among other things, Turner was concerned CETA would reduce the City's ability to give preference to local companies when tendering projects.
Coun. Jon Ambler, Coun. Bill Anglin and Mayor Larry Jangula all noted that the City staff report showed the federal and provincial bodies representing municipal governments are already asking for more information on the federally negotiated agreement.
Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard pointed out that many municipal governments have recently passed similar motions including the City of Toronto.
Her and Coun. Doug Hillian were both in favour of the motion, while the rest of council — minus Coun. Starr Winchester who was not present — voted against it.
writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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