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

North Saanich artist brightens pandemic with whimsical signs

Artist Anna Trelford decorates her fence with signs that riff on COVID-19 pandemic

Man who bound, murdered Langford teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

Tour de Victoria postpones 10th annual ride to 2021

Ride that draws more than 3,000 cyclists to Greater Victoria was set for August

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

Most Read