This is a updated story following the Public Works Committee meeting. Full Video of the debate above or on our YouTube page here
City Councillors are giving the Friends of the Aviary at least a month to determine which of the competing Boards is the valid Board of the volunteer organization, and for them to propose a plan for the future of the Hamilton Aviary.
Councillors held over 30 minutes of discussion in closed session with the City Solicitor in regards to the legal complexities of the matter.
City staff are recommending closing the Aviary located within Churchill Park in Westdale following a OSPCA order that conditions in the Aviary are in violation of provincial regulations.
The recommendation to close is the result of the recent difficulties with the Friends taking care of the birds, the condition of the present Aviary building, and the cost of building a new facility.
Staff state the Aviary presently houses 65 birds, and this number is declining as the Aviary does not breed nor accept new birds.
In 2010, building a new Aviary in Gage Park was considered to replace the “temporary” aviary at Churchill Park which has housed the birds since 1995 when the Aviary moved from Dundurn Castle. Council voted to not construct a new aviary at Gage Park.
Under a 1992 agreement with the old City of Hamilton, the Friends of the Aviary were responsible for the care of the birds, and the City would provide use of the “temporary” facility.
In August, City staff requested the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals attend the site. The OSPCA issued a order requiring the correcting of a “notable mice infestation, as well as the installation of full spectrum lighting”.
Resulting from this, City staff recommend shutting down the aviary and transferring the birds to “more appropriate homes”.
Staff state the City should transfer the birds on the condition they will be transferred back to the Friends of the Aviary if the volunteer organization is able to “establish a private aviary, with sustainable business plan, independent of the City of Hamilton” by January 15, 2021.
Legal Closed Session Report
The City Solicitor’s Office provided Councillors with a confidential legal report regarding the 1992 agreement. The memo is not public, and Councillors are allowed under Section 239 of the Municipal Act to debate this matter in closed session.
The public staff report can be viewed here: http://hamilton.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=23231