Thank you for the opportunity to stand before you and insure you have some resident input and representation at tonight’s meeting.
Unfortunately, the approved agenda did not provide a fair representation of the coyote problem.
I ask that the Resident Report submitted to Council be considered – especially the extensive comments from residents on issues we are facing with coyotes roaming at large in Collingwood. An review the petition with the link at www.coyoteconcernscollingwood.com which has 383 supporters to remove coyotes from Collingwood – very telling stories.
As you are aware I have sent directly to Council members information which has been omitted from Staff Report C2018-10 such as;
- Damages caused by coyotes. 04-15-2018 email
- Incidents in other communities by coyotes – a older women walking her dog on leash in Markham, the attach of a six year old boy in a park – dragged by a coyote – in my email 04-15-2018
- Concerns from residents over their parents who walk small dogs – email 04-15-2018
- By-laws are currently in place to deal with the coyote problems – the Town is contravening their own by-laws by harbouring coyotes on Town property – email 04-15-2018 to several council members
- The Resident Report was sent directly to Council members 04-15-2018, 04-14-2018
- Agenda issues were sent to all council members. The misstating of the motion from Committee on the coyote concerns.
- Emails from residents who tragically had their pets killed.
- Email on diseases carried by coyotes which effect pets and people.
- Over a 100 emails exchanged with staff to educate staff on coyote concerns.
I do not have enough time to go through in detail and provide you with analysis of Staff Report C#2018-10. I assure you that given sufficient time; I can coordinate a more through argument on why C2018-10 should be defeated. The current Resident Report begins to give you some insight to the many issues this report causes to residents of Collingwood.
Based on the presentation of resident issues and the outcome of the Corporate & Community Standing Services Committee Meeting 04-09-2018 staff report C2018-10 was not approved at committee level. There was agreement to take action to remove coyotes immediately – this action has not been taken by staff.
Given the issues with the planned coexistence policy which allows wild urban coyotes roaming at large in Collingwood while recognizing pets are at risk – the Staff Report was developed very clearly with the reported attacks and killings of pets in Collingwood recently – but took the approach of cut and paste policy from other communities with no stats on the level of pet attacks or killings or the investment residents had to make to protect their pets – after the coexistence policy was approved by government.
Residents told you the Staff Report stats made no sense.
The coexistence concept may appear to you to be presented well by Staff – but examine how they developed their recommended policy – they obtained a copy of policy from other cities – cities that Collingwood residents had no input on – but they failed in the most critical part of policy development – being the impact and consequences.
Collingwood is now faced with a – quick policy development process which failed in a critical success factor for good policy development. By staff who do not deal with wildlife. Residents in Collingwood have been living the impact of coexistence policy and we have on camera for you the impact – including tears from families who had their loved pets attacked and killed recently.
The quality of life in parts of Collingwood has deteriorated substantially under the continuation of the current coexistence coyote policy supported by staff. Staff have dismissed resident concerns, but Council is accountable to residents and should examine the proposed policy while keeping the interests of residents as the key deciding factor – residents vote and pay taxes while coyotes do not.
It is critical for Council to stand up for residents’ concerns and vote in favour of the interest of residents over coyote advocates.
Wildlife is an important factor in a healthy Collingwood community – removing wild urban coyotes or dangerous wildlife will protect enjoyable Collingwood wildlife as we have grown to enjoy. The fact of the matter is urban coyotes which frequent Collingwood are devasting our wildlife – killing deer, rabbits and swans – which we are aware of.
The image you should picture for coexistence is not coyotes roaming in the wild – but rather a coyote walking down our streets with a dead cat in its mouth, devouring a rabbit on a person’s lawn or a bloody deer staggering along our waterfront – this is what residents are seeing lately while current policy allows coyotes a large. This is how residents are seeing wildlife and visons of the fear for pet safety.
The campaign to protect coyotes and wildlife in Collingwood by coyote advocates is misleading – and should not be relied on to set policy. The facts and horror residents have experienced is not in their stats, their stories or in their case at all. I appreciate coyote advocates are out in full force tonight as they have a lot at stake to protect their failing policy – we as residents also have a lot at stake tonight – much more then this failed policy – safety and quality of life in Collingwood.
Education is critical in society and in the case of coyote problems. The key to education is to develop the right curriculum to succeed – I know this as professionally I have published curriculum around the world.
The problem we are facing in Collingwood is that Staff are controlling the education campaign with the sole focus of maintaining a misunderstood notion of coexistence.
The upcoming Town of Collingwood sponsored “Living with Coyotes” should be appropriate education which includes the experiences Collingwood residents have encountered while living with coyotes under the existing and proposed coexistence policy.
Council should make a motion tonight to ensure Town sponsored events on the subject of coyotes is fairly presented to educate residents appropriately. This upcoming event – sponsored on the Town Website – should allocate equivalent time for scheduled speakers and allow time for resident advocates such as Coyote Concerns Collingwood. I would be happy to speak and coordinate other speakers on behalf of residents.
In concept we all agree with the idea of coexistence in our very diverse world. But we are being mislead in the use of coexistence in the context of expecting wild unpredictable animals to live in our cities without consequences – being the killing of our loved pets and the increasing risk of children being attacked and injured by these animals.
As a parent I am not willing to take the risk of these animals crossing my property frequently, walking on our streets, in our parks and trails.
I and my neighbors throughout Collingwood and their pets have the right to a be safe in Collingwood – not a Collingwood that harbours prohibited species such as coyotes as identified in our by-laws – principled in a mandate and service offering by the Town of Collingwood to protect residents and our pets – from safety threats such as we are facing from wild unpredictable urban coyotes that attach and kill pets as normal behaviour.
There is a place for coyotes to roam at large and thrive in a habitat – but it is not in the streets, parks, trails or private properties of Collingwood. There is always a need for wildlife advocates – but this is a time we need resident advocates to fight for the rights of Collingwood residents – starting with elected Council members.
On April 13-2018 I sent you and email – to recommend action for tonight’s meeting.
- Council vote to reject Staff Report C#2018-10 as proposed.
- Council support the motion from the Corporate & Community Standing Services Committee of 04-09-2018 to remove the threat and danger from coyotes in East Collingwood immediately and extend this to the other areas of Collingwood where urban coyotes have been sighted, as they are a threat and danger to residents and pets.
- Council direct staff to develop an appropriate urban coyote education plan to;
- Communicate to residents and visitors of Collingwood the danger of urban coyotes,
- Develop steps to take when you encounter a urban coyote in Collingwood,
- Urban Coyotes are dangerous,
- Do not approach or feed,
- Protect your pet and children immediately,
- If they approach – attempt to scare them off by yelling, throw things, back off slowly – do not turn and run as they may chase you as prey.
- Call Collingwood # TBD for an immediate response,
- Establish a Town of Collingwood Urban Coyote service that responds to urban coyote sightings and uses wildlife agent(s) to remove urban coyotes from Collingwood.
- Develop an urban coyote long term population control plan to prevent coyotes from entering Collingwood and becoming habituated in Collingwood.
- Work with neighboring communities to jointly address population control of coyotes and prevent coyotes from becoming habituated within our populated areas.
- Education program to protect wildlife of Collingwood by preventing the devastation of enjoyable wildlife in Collingwood from urban coyotes.