Mono Ontario council is looking into the possibility of allowing backyard chicken coops in town.

The issue was brought to council during its Feb. 28 regular public meeting. Resident Justin Des Cotes wrote a letter to council, requesting a coop be allowed in his backyard.

He’s been told that chickens are not allowed based on his house being zoned as suburban residential.

“Mono appears to be an exception with cities like Brampton allowing two hens per household,” Des Cote wrote. 

Mississauga and Orangeville have pilot projects ongoing that allow four and three hens per household respectively.

“Backyard chickens have many benefits to homeowners, including reduced waste being sent to landfill, production of fertilizer for home gardens, production of eggs for consumption, and a genuinely wholesome experience for children to have while growing up,” Des Cote wrote.

He said chickens are low maintenance, low noise, and are great pets.

“I myself had chickens and other fowl as pets growing up in rural Mono and would love to have the opportunity to share that experience with my children,” Des Cote wrote.

The address on the letter was redacted, but Deputy Mayor Fred Nix assumed Des Cotes lives in one of the town’s subdivisions.

“Should we as a town consult with the whole subdivision or the neighbours?” Nix said. “I don’t know. I would hate to say to one person, yeah, you can have two chickens in your backyard. And then find out … all the people who live beside him are really objecting to it.”

Dave Trotman, the town’s director of planning, said Orangeville considered a similar request and started a pilot project in 2020. Toronto is also about to survey residents on the subject.

“There is a report, I believe, in the works for Orangeville,” Trotman said.

There are a number of concerns that need to be considered regarding backyard chicken coops. He said municipal terms and conditions have to be worked out. Ensuring that the welfare of the chickens is maintained is another necessity, he said.

“All those things, I think, other municipalities have been looking at first before they would make amendments to zoning bylaws or create a municipal bylaw,” Trotman said. 

He could look into the issue, meet with the resident, and report back to council, he said.

Councillor Melinda Davie said such things as proximity of coops to neighbours needs to be paramount.

“I think your neighbours really need to be taken into consideration when you start keeping animals outdoors, be it a dog or your cat that you keep outside all the time,” she said.

“Chickens can be, the females can be noisy and smelly. And that could be a problem.” 

Mayor John Creelman said roosters are not included in the request.

By James Matthews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 14, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Orangeville Citizen   Orangeville, Ontario

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