Esquimalt shaking up animal control in the municipality

Extra parks patrols, variable schedule expected from new contractor

Esquimalt is looking to a private company for better enforcement of its animal control bylaws.

Starting in early April, Victoria Animal Control Services Ltd. will add the township to its list of municipal clients, which also includes the City of Victoria and District of Oak Bay.

Esquimalt council expressed enthusiasm that the company is willing and able to provide increased patrols and switch up its patrol schedule.

“I’ve taken my family down to Fleming Beach on weekends and that’s a hard time to find somebody to control animals,” Coun. Bob McKie said at last week’s council meeting.

“People seem to know that when Saturday comes and Sunday comes there’s no bylaw officers around. If they’re only working Monday to Friday, then we’re back to the same situation we had before.”

The patrol schedule was expected to be a focus of contract negotiations, said Jeff Miller, Esquimalt director of engineering and public works.

Coun. Meagan Brame said it’s important that the schedule not be predictable.

“It’s been witnessed by residents, people opening the door of their car and dropping their dog off (at the park), going to Tim Hortons for a coffee and coming back and picking up their dog,” she said. “So I look forward to the extra hours for sure.”

The new three-year contract will cost the township $211,440 plus tax, about $10,000 more than what the Capital Regional District bid for the job. The contract with the CRD for animal control in Esquimalt ends Saturday (March 31).

The selection was made based on various evaluation criteria, not solely on cost, Miller said.

Victoria Animal Control Services said in its proposal it could enter a cost-sharing partnership with Esquimalt.

“There was basically some cash back coming to us from the impoundment of animals,” Miller said.

emccracken@vicnews.com