Will council adopt backyard hen pilot project this time? - InfoNews.ca

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Will council adopt backyard hen pilot project this time?

City council takes another look at backyard hen pilot projects.
March 06, 2014 - 8:54 AM

PENTICTON -- Residents may have another opportunity to raise chickens in their residential backyards, after city councillors agreed to consider more pilot projects.

The original pilot project required neighbours be notified by participants, and that the city issue temporary use permits to people building chicken coops in their backyards.

Council previously voted against backyard chickens, but Councillor Judy Sentes asked they reconsider options after she received numerous calls and e-mails from area residents.

A new pilot project was presented to council by Aaron Qast and Lara Barr, who have been raising laying hens since they were chicks, as part of their pilot model.

Councillor Wes Hopkin voiced concerns about Qast and Barr raising hens while it is still against city regulations. “You’re the example,” he said. “We have to set standards.”

Qast said they would honour any fines they received in respect of city law and to set an example for the public that they aren’t just fooling around with their pilot project.

People who were violating zoning permits by keeping their hens after the pilot expired, received warnings to shut down their operations. The city issued $100 fines to those who kept their hens.

Residents expressed their concerns during previous meetings about the hens attracting coyotes and rats, but backyard farmers denied the rumours. There is wildlife and rats in Penticton and the hens aren’t the attraction, said one resident. Just because people want to raise chickens in their yard doesn’t mean they want a vermin problem, too.

Council will address the issue again during next council meeting, Mar. 17.

To contact the reporter for this story, e-mail Meaghan Archer at marcher@infotelnews.ca, or call 250-488-3065.

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