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Councillors reject chicken bylaw for Fort Erie

A proposed pilot project that would have allowed homeowners in rural residential areas to raise chickens on their property got councillors clucking at Town Hall last week.

Last August, the council directed staff to prepare a draft proposal for the pilot project and the report was presented at last Monday’s council-in-committee meeting.

But the council voted against it and the Town will continue as it has been, which is to restrict the keeping of chickens to agricultural and rural-zoned lands only.

“I’m thinking this is a solution to what so far has not been a problem,” Mayor Wayne Redekop said.

With the exception of one complaint about a Stevensville resident who kept chickens in the urban boundary, Redekop couldn’t recall other complaints in the many years he’s served on council.

“I think if people who have chickens in their backyard and their neighbours aren’t complaining, I don’t care. I’m indifferent…if neighbours are complaining, that’s a different story,” he said.

“We’re going to be setting up a lot of work for a small amount of people.”

“Being a farmer’s daughter,” Ward 6 Coun. Ann-Marie Noyes said she would support the pilot project.

She felt it is “better to be prepared” and the bylaw would create a framework for if and when there may be issues in the future.

“It’s being proactive,” she said.

The report prepared by staff noted a growing trend has emerged in Canada towards reintegrating livestock into residential areas.

If it had been approved, the temporary bylaw would have called for properties to have setbacks of three metres from side and rear lot lines, as well as 7.6 metres from neighbouring homes and schools. There would have been no minimum lot sizes to have chickens. The number of hens would have been limited to five, and the keeping of roosters wouldn’t have been permitted.
Chickens would have been required to be registered but licencing wouldn’t be required.

Owners wouldn’t have been allowed to sell eggs, and the slaughter of chickens at home banned unless it was done by a certified professional.