Backyard hens debate resurfaces

Bylaw still has another hurdle at Parksvile city hall

Buckerfields manager Eric Petersen shows some urban chicken coops they have for sale.

It’s been quiet for months, but noise concerns remain as Parksville’s backyard hens bylaw appeared in front of city council again Monday.

“There is nothing to be gained and a great deal of possible negative impact,” said Darrell Stark during the public hearing portion of the  city council meeting. He praised the staff report but questioned leaving out Parksville’s own experience with the issue when the city annexed new rural areas and had to enforce no-chicken bylaws.

He once again raised the fears about attracting rodents and prey animals, increasing noise and odour, decreasing property values and being unsanitary for neighbours.

While he didn’t feel the bylaw should pass at all, he said if it does, one solution could be to make people ask all their neighbours for permission.

Director of community planning Blaine Russell later told The NEWS he didn’t believe it was possible to write that into a bylaw, explaining you can’t have people vote on rights. Something is either allowed by a bylaw or not, giving the example that your neighbours can’t decide how fast you can drive.

In the past Al Greir is the only councillor who has spoken against the bylaw.

The bylaw will come back to council for third and final reading in the near future.

Meanwhile Eric Petersen, manager of Buckerfields, said they have had a fair bit of interest in their small hen coops since the bylaw first came up, but not necessarily an increase in purchases yet.

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