North Vancouver ruffled some feathers last year after passing a bylaw that banned people from keeping pet pigeons. While innocent-sounding on the surface, it turned out there was only one person who had pet pigeons in the city. And his neighbour? The councillor who'd advocated for the bylaw in the first place. Now, after claims of conflict of interest and an independent review, North Vancouver might reconsider their pigeon ban.
The oddly specific bylaw is set to come into effect on May 1, 2020. Kulwant Dulay, the only known pigeon-owner in the city, could have to say goodbye to his flock.
"In my other house in North Vancouver, everyone loved pigeons. They were flying around no problem," said Dulay to The Canadian Press.
Dulay believes his neighbour, Councillor Betty Forbes, was responsible. Forbes had frequently complained about his birds, reported the CBC, and investigations showed that she emailed other councillors urging them to pass the bylaw.
Despite not proposing the ban or even voting on it the bylaw passed 4-2.
Now, CBC reports that a majority of North Vancouver's councillors are willing to reconsider their decision.
"I think we can read between the lines of this report and it's pretty clear that this was not brought forward with the community's best interest or in the community best interests," said councillor Jordan Back to the Canadian Press.
Their change of heart follows the public release of an independent report into the case on Wednesday, February 19.
The report didn't give any conclusion about a conflict of interest, but it did make some suggestions for the city councillors.
Re: LRT, I'm no friend to pigeons, but would gladly accept a few individuals keeping trained pigeons as pets if all… https://t.co/yriHpjhWjV— Erin McInnis (@Erin McInnis)1582161179.0
"I've spent lots of money fixing my backyard. I try and keep it as prim and proper as I can. I invest in it every year. And now I get to sit on the back deck and entertain and look at a pigeon coop," said Forbes, reported the CBC.
The very next year, in October of 2018, Forbes became a city councillor. And on November 4, 2019, the pigeon ban bylaw was given final adoption. It passed with Forbes sitting out the vote due to a conflict of interest.
Forbes declined to comment to Narcity, saying that there were "some matters still before the courts."
At the same time, it's unknown whether a new pigeon bylaw grandfathering existing owners would appease the people w… https://t.co/ViTpSTxSpE— Justin McElroy (@Justin McElroy)1582162952.0
David Loukidelis QC, Associate Counsel with the Young Anderson law firm, wrote the independent report.
His investigation contained a detailed timeline of the events, as well as recommendations that included training councillors on conflict of interest and expanding the councillors' code of ethics.
In a statement to Narcity, the District of North Vancouver said they are: “committed to transparency and continual improvement in our service to the community.
"We will consider the report recommendations and will take action where appropriate,” they continued.
If anything, pigeons are as much a member of our communities as we are.
Loukidelis declined comment, saying he'd rather let his review speak for itself.
Narcity has reached out to Kulwant Dulay for comment. We'll update this article once we hear back.