Council says no to exploring urban chickens

By Tyler Marr
August 12, 2017 - 9:00am

The idea for urban chickens in Prince Albert did not fly with some members of city council.

Tuesday, council was presented with a motion to develop a proposed permit system for urban chicken ownership and study enforcement costs.

The idea, first hatched by the Prince Albert Food Coalition, was brought before council in June and is part of a broader look at food security in the city. 

Public consultation on the matter, according to agenda documents, was polarized, with respondents either heavily “not concerned at all” or “very concerned.” Smells, noise and maintenance were top of mind. The documents also proposed echoing a pilot project currently underway in St. Albert.

Saying the city could not “afford to many false starts,” Coun. Ted Zurakowski suggested they wait until after the pilot project in St. Albert finished and worked out all the kinks before moving on the matter.

Mayor Greg Dionne, on the other hand, said many people had approached him, shocked the city was “wasting so much time on chickens.”

“I believe that if you are going to do anything that changes the atmosphere of your neighbourhood, that the neighbours should have the right to say yes or no,” he said.

But Coun. Don Cody said his neighbours had already spoken. 

“They say ‘why don’t you just kill it now and have it over with,’” Cody said. “Don’t get me wrong, I support what the food coalition does, but I don’t support urban chickens...I am totally opposed to it, like 90 per cent of people in this city."

He and other councillors, citing the report, said the city has enough trouble chasing after cats and dogs and adding chickens to the mix “doesn’t make sense at all.”

Others did not agree.

Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp said while on the campaign trail, many people approach her expressing a desire to raise chickens. She said anyone can have cats and dogs, but with permits, chickens could be heavily regulated. 

"People would have to care for the animals and have plans for things like pest control," Lennox-Zepp said.

Other councillors didn't want to paint all owners as irresponsible and give class punishment for one individual.

In the end, the motion was defeated after a 4-4 tie.


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