City Staff to examine phasing out horse-drawn carriages

In a vote of 5 to 3, Victoria City Council's Committee of the Whole agreed to send out staff to examine phasing out horse drawn carriages by 2023.

Lisa Helps, Charlayne Thorton Joe, and Geoff Young were the opposing votes.  Sarah Potts, Laurel Collins, Shamarke Dubow, Jeremy Loveday, and Ben Isitt, who put forward the motion, all voted in favour.  Councillor Marianne Alto was not in attendance at the meeting.

Before the vote was called, Helps addressed Council, saying the strategic plan they wrote up at the beginning of the term was primarily focused on climate change and affordable housing.  She says a strategic plan is meant to be amended when new information is presented, but there hasn't been anything new since last August.  

Helps adds that this is a very contentious issue, with lots of people with strong opinions on both sides of the fence.  She says it could take up a full year in public engagement and debate, taking time away from addressing important issues.

"I think that will really sincerely take away our efforts, and I really believe this or I wouldn't be saying it, take away our efforts of engaging the public on removing their oil tanks.  On incetivising them to move to alternate ways of moving around the city.  Of retrofitting their homes, of retrofitting their buildings.  We're in a climate emergency, we're not in a horse emergency."

Staff will go out and examine the feasibility of phasing out the horse-drawn carriage industry in downtown Victoria, and will report back to City Council by September 7th.

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