P.A. considering allowing urban chickens

By Nigel Maxwell
April 26, 2016 - 12:44pm

If you’ve ever wanted a backyard chicken coop or bee hives, you may get your wish. The city of Prince Albert is reviewing its zoning bylaws which would open the door for urban agriculture.

There was some interest raised during the community plan sessions to address food security within the urban areas, John Guenther Director of Planning and Development said. 

He has some experience with this issue, having previously worked in British Columbia.

"We adopted them in Houston, B.C which is a small town back two years ago and we changed our bylaws with a fair bit of public outreach. So it's not a new thing and I think it's very easily managed," he said.

Currently only homeowners in the agriculture designated areas can own chickens. Those areas are located south of the North Saskatchewan River, on the outskirts of the city. 

Guenther said when the zoning bylaw was changed in Houston, they also had to review their animal control bylaw to ensure chickens would be for egg laying only and not butchering. They also had to discuss housing requirements and placed a limit on how many chickens a homeowner could own.

Roosters were also prohibited due to noise concerns.

"A lot of people think too that the chickens will be everywhere but that's not what happens. What ends up happening is you get them dispersed throughout the city and some people use them, some people don't." 

City Manager Jim Toye said the goal is to have a public open house in May.

"We do understand that there are some municipalities who are starting to allow chickens. That will be something that could be discussed after the new zoning bylaw comes forward," Toye said.

He said the ultimate decision would rest with city council to decide if the bylaw change would be for the betterment of the whole community. 

The issue was brought to the fore front this week when a Prince Albert woman was forced to give up her chickens. 

Lusi Wells's property on Prince Albert's south side was not zoned for agricultural use.


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