Penticton council refuses to chicken out on backyard hen pilot project
By Steve Arstad
One of the Penticton properties involved in a backyard hen pilot project, which was given approval for another six months by Penticton council this week.
Image Credit: City of Penticton
December 09, 2015 - 10:30 AM
PENTICTON - A plucky city council approved permits for backyard hens in the city for another six months.
The pilot project began in May 2014. Twelve residents applied at the time and were given approval but those permits expired in November.
Planning Manager Blake Laven gave council an update on the results of the project at Monday’s regular meeting. He said staff had made two inspections of the participating properties since the program began and surveyed both participants and neighbours.
During those inspections staff noted 10 of the 12 participating properties continued to raise between one and five healthy chickens. Half the participants had lost at least one chicken to an animal attack of one kind or another, and one lost a chicken when it overheated in a greenhouse.
It was acknowledged chickens created some noise, but most residents and neighbouring properties expressed support for the program, finding the chicken din not out of line with other urban sounds.
Staff noted only one neighbour baulked at the project. Staff noted the neighbour was totally opposed to the project and was very vocal in their protest against it. There were few instances of any noted increase in rodents due to the keeping of chickens.
Since the program’s inception, other communities, including Summerland and Kamloops, have adopted or are considering adopting bylaws allowing backyard hens. Keeping urban hens is becoming common practice in B.C., council was told.
Council expressed their continued enthusiasm for the project, agreeing unanimously to a six-month extension of the pilot project. Council also directed staff to include regulations for the keeping of urban hens on a city-wide basis in the next zoning revision, scheduled for early 2016.
Previous councils weren't as chicken friendly in the past. The first attempt at a pilot project was scratched in May 2013, when council decided to not approve temporary use permits.
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