The Town of Qualicum Beach is a step closer to adopting a policy that would allow backyard chickens in residential areas of the community.
Council gave a proposed bylaw amendment third reading at its regular meeting on June 8. Mayor Brian Wiese, Scott Harrison and Anne Skipsey voted in favour, with Teunis Westbroek and Robert Filmer opposed.
Town director of planning and community development Luke Sales updated council on how many residence involved in the chicken pilot project would be impacted by the size and setback requirements stipulated in the proposed licensing policy.
Sales pointed out there will be properties that would be non-conforming but as they are relatively minor, he indicated they can be addressed in the future and be brought into compliance. They include the number of chickens they are allowed to have or the size of their coops.
Skipsey suggested an amendment to the proposed bylaw. She favoured increasing the lot size but not the maximum height of three metres. She wants it to be only two metres.
Coun. Scott Harrison also suggested an amemdment that there should only be a one-metre setback requirements for residences that don’t have any building nearby. For others, it should be the full three-metre setback.
Filmer re-emphasized his opposition to the bylaw. He strongly feels backyard chickens would attract wildlife such as bears. He doesn’t want bears to be euthanized because of this.
“We put this type of stuff in our backyards and then get upset when something gets in there that’s not supposed to get in there,” Filmer explained. “And they expect something to be done about it. But we don’t change our ways. For that I can’t get behind it.”
Harrison attempted to get council to adopt the bylaw but Sales suggested council review the amendments that were made at the next council meeting.