By David F. Rooney
If you can’t beat ’em, you might as well join ’em is the approach City Council is taking over the urban chicken issue.
Council agreed with a proposal from Councillor Chris Johnston that it develop and enact a bylaw that will permit the keeping of a limited number of chickens by city residents.
While the details have yet to be worked out they will likely require urban chicken keepers to provide their birds with adequate shelter, food and water. They will not be permitted to own roosters. While hens are very quiet birds, roosters are noisy and aggressive.
However, this is as far as the City will go — at this time — when it comes to marching in step with the desire of city dwellers to become farmers. Chickens and vegetable gardens are fine, but goats, sheep, cows and other large animals will not be permitted.
“This will be a simple bylaw that would permit backyard chickens,” said Johnston, who keeps a few chickens in his own backyard.
He also noted that there has been widespread and vigorous public discussion of this issue for the last three or four years. In fact, public meetings that focussed, in part, on urban chickens consistently drew larger audiences than Council’s last Town Hall meeting.
“I can just see my legacy,” chuckled Mayor Dave Raven. “I’ll be the mayor who allowed backyard chickens.”