By David F. Rooney
After pecking over the long-delayed backyard chicken issue Council has ordered up a public hearing to determine what interested members of the public have to cluck about it.
The Tuesday, August 25, hearing will allow Revelstokians to have their say about amendments to the zoning bylaw that:
- Include a one-time $25 registration fee;
- Require owners to ensure their backyard brooders are kept in a safe and head;thy environment;
- Permit backyard hen keeping only in single-family yards;
- Prohibit backyard chickens in multi-family or mobile-home park lots; and
- Permit the installation of electric fencing within a fenced portion of a property that has an existing non-electrified fence that forms a continuous enclosure around the electric fencing to prevent wildlife from accessing backyard hens.
If permitted, electric fences would have to be programmed to a maximum conduction of 9,000 volts and must be a CSA-approved unit. Such fences would also have to be lower in height than the non- electrified fence portion on the property.
There are at least 35 backyard chicken operations within city boundaries and their proliferation has been actively opposed by Revelstoke Bear Aware which fears they are a bear attractant. However, the 2014 Revelstoke Sustainability Action Plan and the Revelstoke Food Security Strategy now under development recommend the keeping of backyard chickens. The last Council briefly discussed what Mayor Mark McKee has since called “the Famous Chicken Bylaw” — by the way, he supports it — but it seemed to have been stuck on the back-burner until after last November’s election. The draft bylaw was presented to the Security Committee on February 19 and as Teresa LeRose, the City’s Manager of Legislative Services, said in her report to Council: “it became apparent that the bylaw should be amended from certain residential zoning districts to residential land use. The updated bylaws were presented to the Administration, Industry Partnership and Communications Committee on June 16, 2015. Committee members proposed amendments to the Animal Control Bylaw and are outlined in the attached Bylaw with a few changes.”
Council really does welcome everyone’s input but there are very specific steps that you must take to let them know what you think about the proposed changes.
Members of the public can come to the hearing, which starts at 3 pm in the Council Chambers located at 103 Second Street East. If you can’t attend in person please submit your written comments to the Corporate Administration department at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the meeting or send it via Canada Post to the City of Revelstoke, PO Box 170, Revelstoke, BC, V0E 2S0. to the address listed below.
But don’t delay. Council will not consider any submissions sent to it after the public hearing is concluded. It is worth hearing what Councillor Aaron Orlando had to say about the importance of communicating directly with Council on such issues:
“Everyone on Council is interested in what the public has to say… however, sometimes in this day of the Internet… in terms of the formal legal steps the City has to go through, an extra step is needed,” he said in last week’s 5-Minute Council Video.
Orlando said it is not enough for people to comment online through the local online news media like The Current, Mountaineer or Revelstoke Review, or the Stoke List. Mayor Mark McKee and Council may be aware of what people say in those forums but they are legally required and legally allowed to only consider comments that are formally directed to them through very specific processes.
You can also watch Council discuss this issue by activating the YouTube player below and starting it at about the 48-minute mark.