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Decision on Kamsack vet clinic zoning bylaw change delayed

Both the clinic and its neighbour want a resolution to the issue.
A final decision on a zoning blyaw to allow veterinary clinics in residental zones has been delayed.

KAMSACK — The future of the Kamsack Veterinary Clinic remains uncertain as the town council has deferred its decision on a bylaw that would permit the clinic to operate within a residential zone.

The decision is now tabled following a public hearing on June 24 attended by concerned residents and town officials.

Dr. Ellen Amundsen-Case, owner of the Kamsack Veterinary Clinic, expressed disappointment during an interview with the Kamsack Times over the council’s decision to delay.

“The issue needs to be resolved so that we may all move forward.”

The veterinarian emphasized the clinic’s contributions to the local economy and refuted claims that it negatively impacts property values.

“Kamsack Veterinary Clinic currently employs three individuals in addition to me. This represents income for four local households,” said Amundsen-Case. She highlighted the clinic’s clean and well-maintained appearance, discreet signage, and the various local contractors it employs for maintenance.

Amundsen-Case said there’s no evidence to support an allegation that the clinic would lower neighbouring property values. She said many other businesses operate within residential zones in Kamsack, such as the Flower House Florist, Hawryluk Agencies and several law offices.

In her plea, Amundsen-Case underscored the importance of veterinary services to the community.

“Access to veterinary services adds to the list of reasons to choose to settle here. A town must have an active business community in order to thrive,” she stated.

Amundsen-Case also mentioned a petition supporting the clinic, which garnered 508 signatures, including 150 from local ratepayers.

Linda Scobie and Ferris Scobie, neighbours opposing the zoning of the clinic, said “We are feeling optimistic, we feel the town is really considering their options right now. They might look into measuring noise levels.”

The Scobies expressed frustration over the ongoing dispute, stating, “It’s disheartening that we have to deal with this every day now, so we just want this done and over with. It’s dragged on long enough.”

The Kamsack Veterinarian Clinic moved beside the Scobies on Third Street in December 2023, after its previous location in the Crowstand Centre was closed permanently. As part of the process of buying the building, Amundsen-Case obtained sufficient approval from the Town of Kamsack to operate in the location, which was accepted by the lawyers and the bank.

The Scobies made an appeal to the provincial Development Appeals Board against the town. The town lost

According to the board, the town argued the veterinarian clinic was able to move into a residential zone because it was a ‘clinic’, which is an allowed use. The board rejected that argument, saying the town expanded the term ‘clinic’ too far by including veterinarian clinics. They said the town’s bylaw specifically mentioned that ‘veterinarian clinics’ were allowed uses for agricultural or commercial districts, so if a veterinarian clinic was allowed in a residential district, the bylaw would have specifically said so.

The board also mentioned the setbacks between the veterinarian clinic and its neigbours, but added they weren’t relevant to their final decision.

As a result, the board gave 240 days – until Dec. 20 – for the veterinarian clinic to move or come up with an alternate solution, which they suggested could include rezoning the property or exploring relocation incentives.