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

Oak Bay Police Chief Const. Andy Brinton passes the torch this summer

Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties to take over position in September

Victoria Police see new trends in calls due to COVID-19

Police link jump in domestic, mental health calls to pandemic

VIDEO: Musician stays physically distant in courtyard show for Langford retirees

Bob Nelson found a way to continue to play for retirement community residents

COVID-19: Health care workers seek alternative housing options to prevent families from getting sick

Volunteers, residents and businesses step up to provide frontline workers with alternative housing

BC Parks Foundation organizes virtual picnic for the province

Join a B.C.-wide picnic online Saturday, March 28

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Nanaimo RCMP ask for help locating 17-year-old girl believed to be with 36-year-old man

Mary Cyprich, missing since Thurday, might be in company of Force Forsythe

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Most Read