Now that Qualicum Beach has a full complement of councillors, Mayor Brian Wiese has brought back the issue of backyard chickens.
Wiese wants council to rescind their decision on March 17 to ban chickens within the town proper. He tried to get council to rescind its decision at council meeting on April 7 but it was deferred until the council spot left vacant when Adam Walker was elected MLA for Parksville-Qualicum was filled.
With Coun. Anne Skipsey elected to the position, Wiese on July 21 made a notice of motion to rescind a decision not to continue a backyard chicken pilot project.
Before taking that step, Wiese recommended staff conduct a survey of the community to solicit feedback on permitting backyard chickens in residential areas. He wants the survey to be completed by October and for council to discuss the issue following the survey results.
“If we get the survey back and people say, ‘get rid of backyard chickens,’ the motion as it stands, stands, and we’ll get rid of backyard chickens,” said Wiese. “If the survey says, ‘we don’t have problems with chickens,’ then council will have the opportunity to discuss it at that point.”
Coun. Scott Harrison also had a change of heart regarding his decision last March to ban the backyard chickens. He feels it’s a good thing to have as low as it is regulated through bylaws.
“Even if the survey came back 49-51 and there’s a two per cent increase in opposition, I still think it’s good thing to do as long as bylaw can address people who use it,” said Harrison.
The town initiated a pilot project on backyard chickens that ran from May 2017 to May 2020. There were 17 permits issued.
On March 17, council discussed the pilot project but were not able to advance a proposed bylaw that would allow backyard chickens in residential areas, as the vote ended in a 2-2 tie.