Plenty to cluck about in Parksville

Staff say complaints will rise if council approves chicken coops

After hearing requests and apparent support for allowing backyard chickens, Parksville council will consider a bylaw at Wednesday’s committee of the whole meeting.

Sparked by a letter from Holly Tillotson asking council to allow people to keep a small number of egg laying hens within the city, council heard from eight members of the gallery on the issue at their May 23, 2012 meeting at Ballenas Secondary.

Of the eight who spoke the closest to opposition they heard was one person who said he supported the idea, but the city had to do their research and make sure they plan for the negative aspects including noise, smell, predators and irresponsible animal owners.

Lana Harach with the local 4H poultry club spoke at that meeting, touting the benefits including getting eggs much fresher than the average 30 day old commercial eggs, cutting down on waste and environmental impact and providing youth with a chance to learn about gardening, animals, self reliance and food security.

On Wednesday, September 5, council will consider asking staff to prepare a bylaw allowing four egg laying hens.

The staff report says that based on other jurisdictions, they anticipate five to ten additional complaints per year, which would cost the city $1,000 to $2,000 or an equivalent reduction in other complaint services.

The only other cost to the city would be an estimated $1,000 for education materials and a coop registry.

Tillotson invites everyone to join the Backyard Chickens In Parksville Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/263651297002346/.