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You heard it here first: Coaldale council considers allowing goats in town

Posted on February 1, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News

Coaldale town council has passed first reading of the domestic animal bylaw and will consider allowing a limited number of goats in town on eligible residential properties larger than one acre.

The issue was brought forward during the Jan. 23 regular council meeting. The existing domestic animal bylaw was amended in recent years to include annexed parcels and the new proposed bylaw would amalgamate previous updates into a singular document to provide more clarity.

Director of Growth and Investment for the Town of Coaldale, Cameron Mills said while administration was reviewing the domestic animal bylaw, “an opportunity for council to consider additional changes to the existing bylaw/amendments” arose.

Mills said, “it is something that has been raised to myself and planning and development a few times over the years and is also regularly brought up with Mark Anderson (Manager of Community Policing) which is the possibility of consideration for the ownership of goats on larger residential properties within the town.”

Mills explained the current bylaw limits the ownership of domestic animals to cats, dogs, and up to two rabbits per parcel and added the amendment would allow for the ownership of two goats on residential parcels larger than one acre.

“To have this discussion, we felt it made sense to simply provide the bylaw with that option and if council moves that, the amendment may be made.”

As part of the staff report brought before council, Anderson provided commentary highlighting goats’ uses in terms of grazing and weed control, and their ability to support a “regenerative practice to landscapes.”

If second and third readings are passed, parcels in town zoned as country residential or urban reserve which meet the one acre threshold, could potentially house up to two goats on the parcel.

Mills added several parcels in town which previously housed livestock and have since been annexed by the Town, and have been able to continue to do so, under the condition these properties are maintained appropriately.

Mills said, “I would suggest the actual number of new parcels that might be incorporated into this would be about 40 parcels and I wouldn’t expect we would see more than two or three potentially take up the opportunity; it is fairly specialized.”

Mills noted due to the relatively limited number of properties the bylaw could apply to, the creation of a new licensing system would likely be “more onerous and expensive” than to work under a model which simply provides interested and eligible properties with written approval which administration could revoke should the arrangement be found in violation of policies and standards defined in the bylaw.

Mayor Jack van Rijn noted the City of Lethbridge currently allows for the use of goats in grass control. Speaking in favour of the option to pass first reading of Bylaw 862-R-01-23 van Rijn said, “I think, (we should) give it a try.”

The motion to pass first reading to allow for the ownership of goats on properties greater than one acre passed and the issue will come before a public hearing at one of the upcoming February council meetings, TBD.

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