Saanich youngster wins approval for backyard goats

Council votes unanimously to approve an 18-month pilot project for up to 10 homes

Jillian McCue (left) and friend Taylor Specht celebrate Saanich’s approval for the backyard goat pilot project on the steps of Saanich Municipal Hall.

Jillian McCue (left) and friend Taylor Specht celebrate Saanich’s approval for the backyard goat pilot project on the steps of Saanich Municipal Hall.

There will be goats, not many, but at least a few, in Saanich.

It took more than three years but Jillian McCue’s persistence has earned residents the right to keep miniature goats as backyard pets in Saanich.

With only one other party besides the McCues showing interest in the pilot program, however, there was some question among Saanich council on Monday night as to whether the backyard goat pilot project should be deferred to 2017. But in the end, council voted unanimously to approve McCue’s wish, and commence with an 18-month pilot project for up to 10 homes.

“We don’t know the level of support until we start this,” said Mayor Richard Attwell. “We don’t know the full benefits.”

Twelve-year-old Jillian stepped to the podium, as she’s done so many times, but this time asked for just one thing, an amendment to the staff-prepared motion, to reduce the distance of supporting neighbours of the pilot program from within 100 metres to 50 metres.  Council granted it in a 7-2 vote.

“Thirty-five metres is three houses over and 100 metres would be going all the way to the neighbours behind us who are quite far away, quite unnecessary,” said McCue, who celebrated the approval with considerable jubilation outside council chambers.

Among council’s concerns was a resident-supported response as to whether Saanich staff should be working on this or something more important. All agreed it was interesting but the voices of dissent were few and far between. Only one representative, from the Residents Association of Strawberry Vale, Marigold and Glanford, brought public concerns to the podium. Those included the cost of staff time dedicated to the pilot project as a priority.

But with the agenda item having made it this far, council was content to push it ahead.

Good thing, because McCue already has her goats picked out. Millie and Ivy are a pair of fainting goat sisters from a North Saanich farm, and she’ll continue visiting them every two weeks until they can both come home. The youngest is still nursing and needs three months more, just enough time, likely, to complete the necessary paperwork for the pilot project.

“We have most of the pen done but I’m working on it still to make sure it’s suitable,” McCue said. “They are very social animals which is why I want two.”

The goat house is actually the McCue family’s 60-square-foot treehouse. All it needs is a ramp for the goats, who love climbing. Ironically, the ramp will now have handrails along it, because fainting goats have a tendency to tip over when they’re excited or scared, McCue said.

The goats usually live 12 to 18 years. They are about the size of a labrador dog and are expected to eat weeds, grass and shrubs. With plenty of invasive English ivy, dad Rich McCue is happy to bring the goats aboard.

“I actually thought Saanich might take long enough to do this that Jillian would become a teenager and move on, but now we’re prepared for mini goats,” Rich joked.

The inspiration initially came from a visit with a friend in California. They kept a goat on their half-acre orchard to keep the weeds, lawn and shrubs down.

Many questions are still unanswered, such as whether the goats will be deemed illegal should the 18-month trial period fail to gain further approval. One suggestion was to grandfather the right to have goats on the pilot properties.

Jillian’s friend Taylor Specht shared in the enjoyment. The Fernwood resident is looking to create a similar campaign to allow miniature kuenkune pigs in Victoria.

 

Just Posted

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Langford man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

Police dog Obi assisted in an arrest Tuesday night after a man reportedly damaged a Victoria restaurant with a large steel beam. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Police dog called in after Victoria restaurant damaged with steel beam

Suspect reportedly entered restaurant and started damaging walls

Police dog Hitch helped arrest a man who had reportedly threatened the security guards of a Victoria shopping centre with a knife on June 15. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Man with knife arrested after reportedly threatening Bay Centre security guards

The K9 unit’s police dog, Hitch, was deployed to assist with the arrest

GardenWorks nursery in Oak Bay at its home until August. (Black Press Media file photo)
GardenWorks puts down new roots in Oak Bay this summer

Nursery shifts down The Avenue to fill former fitness studio space

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

COVID-related trash is washing up on shorelines across the world, including Coldstream’s Kal Beach, as pictured in this May 2021 photograph. (Jennifer Smith - Black Press)
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

Most Read