Horse-drawn carriages will stay as they are for now. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Horse-drawn carriages to stay after Victoria backs down from debate

Tourist draw will stay in city after a years-long discussion on banning

Victoria city council will bow out of the horse-drawn carriage ban debate, meaning any discussions of a phase-out have been discarded.

In council’s quarterly update, councillors considered preparing bylaw amendments to specify a maximum temperature of 28 degrees, banning travel down Oswego and Superior streets, and posting more signage along horse carriage routes.

Ultimately, however, council opted to receive the recommendations and do nothing at this time.

This motion was put forward by Coun. Jeremy Loveday, who succinctly commented “it’s time to move on.”

ALSO READ: Victoria city councillor proposes to phase out horse-drawn carriages

The motion passed six-to-two with Coun. Ben Isitt and Coun. Sharmarke Dubow opposed.

“I’ve heard some substantial support [for change] from the public,” Isitt said. “But certainly in terms of regulatory change going as far as a phase-out doesn’t seem to be supported at this time, at least in terms of council members.”

The move comes after a years-long debate over whether horse-drawn carriages should be banned from city streets for the sake of animal safety.

Animal activists were vocal on the perceived instances of animal cruelty, especially linked to double-horse carriages, while equestrians argued that the horses are maintained with great care scrutiny, and enjoy being around people.

A letter from the BCSPCA dated Nov. 19 helped cool the issue by showing support for the horse-drawn carriage industry, a 180-degree turn from an original letter in June 2018 that called for the ban of horse-drawn carriages from downtown streets.

“There’s no question we’re elated that council decided to put this potential ban off to the side,” said Victoria Carriage Tours General Manager Tom Walker in a statement. “It allows an iconic Victoria tourism activity to continue, it saves the jobs of those drivers – most of them young women – who rely on our industry to help them meet their tuition and other costs. And above all else, it saves our horses from boredom, frustration or worse.”

Tally-Ho Tours owner Donna Friedlander said the decision was a weight off her chest.

ALSO READ: Victoria considers limiting where horse-drawn carriages can go

“It’s really, really great news for us,” she said. “It’s been a couple years of discussion, and we’ll continue working with city staff to keep making improvements.”

Some of these improvements include more signage along horse routes, something which can be put up by the city’s operational staff without direction from council.

“We’ve been asking for signage for many years, and the city is starting to listen which is really great.”

The tourism season is picking up and more customers have been seeking out the carriage services recently. According to a shared report between Tally-Ho and Victoria Carriage Tours, the horse-drawn carriage industry services approximately 75,000 tourists every year.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

City of Victoriahorse carriages

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royal BC Museum joins home education trend with outreach programs

Free webinar options available for RBCM@Home and kids’ programs, starting March 31

Victoria councillors propose waiving parkade fees to support essential workers

Motion coming to committee of the whole for consideration

Woman comes home to ‘entirely different’ Victoria after cruise ship, military base quarantine

Melanie Sibbitt booked herself a last-minute vacation on a cruise ship hit by COVID-19

Victoria car dealership helps fill shelves at the Mustard Seed Food Bank

Kia Victoria staff also delivering groceries, prescriptions for home-bound residents

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

Canada to spend $2B more on procuring medical supplies for COVID-19 fight

Government has signed deals with three companies

World COVID-19 updates: Putin may be exposed; 30,000 prisoners released

Comprehensive news update from around the world as of Tuesday, March 31.

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

‘This is no joke’: B.C. woman in Alberta hospital asks people to stay home during COVID-19

‘I want people to start listening to what the doctors are saying. This is no joke, please stay home’

Rest stops barring washroom access to truckers a ‘huge problem’ as COVID-19 spreads

Teamsters Canada says truckers are increasingly being denied warm meals

Canadians asked to wash mailboxes, keep dogs at bay, to ensure safe mail delivery

Four postal workers in Canada have tested positive for COVID-19 infection:

Hospitality workers hit ‘first and hit hardest,’ says union seeking more support

Union represents workers in hotels, casinos, airports, arenas, universities, schools and remote resource camps

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Most Read