KIRKLAND LAKE – Some councillors in a Northern town are on the fence about permitting backyard chickens.

Kirkland Lake is going to hold a public survey about allowing backyard chickens in both urban and rural residential areas within the municipality.

“I think by asking the public to give us feedback, I will feel more comfortable in making a decision,” said Coun. Rick Owen.

Last month, residents Kassy Dusome and Anthony Boucher talked to Kirkland Lake council about the idea. The two gathered 70 signatures on a petition in hopes of the town establishing a backyard flock hen bylaw.

SEE: Kirkland Lake residents clucking for a change, petitioning for backyard chickens

Once a delegation has been accepted by council, it’s up to council members to bring the item back to be considered. At the town’s June 4 meeting, Mayor Stacy Wight brought forward a motion — which was approved — regarding the topic.

In addition to the public survey, the motion notes a staff report will include survey results, legislative authority, zoning, enforcement and comments from consultation with local public health authorities and Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for additional feedback and recommendations.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Coun. Casey Owens said he can’t support the concept.

“Not to use a pun, but I’m kind of on the fence on it. On one of my vacations I ended up in Key West and they had a backyard chicken program and people let them go. If we think pigeons are a problem, wait until you have chickens coming at you every which way on the street,” he said.

“To me it seems a lot cheaper to go buy your eggs at the grocery store, and I know farm fresh are better and I get that whole aspect of it. But we’ve got one bylaw officer. And she’s overworked as it is with complaints. Add a neighbour dispute over your chicken coop being too loud, too dirty, or too smelly.”

Similarly, Owen said he’s not sure if it’s something the town should go forward with or not.

“I don’t know if I want chickens next to my house because I’ve never had chickens next to my house,” he said.

In order to make an educated decision, Coun. Lad Shaba said he wants more information. He said he’s also curious to see bylaws regarding backyard chickens from other Ontario municipalities. 

Coun. Pat Keily said he’s concerned about chickens attracting other animals. However, he too said he wants more information before making any kind of decision.

By Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative

Original Published on Jun 05, 2024 at 07:47

This item reprinted with permission from   Timmins, Ontario

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