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Sidney Council approves measure to allow backyard hens

Final vote on Feb. 26 saw bylaw change pass by a slim margin
Residents of the Town of Sidney will now be allowed to keep up to five hens in back yards. (Black Press Media file photo)

Sidney Council has given final approval to the resolution to allow the keeping of backyard hens, passing the measure by a slim margin, with four councillors for and three against.

No debate was had at the Feb. 26 meeting on the subject, as councillors noted there had already been a “robust” discussion of the topic.

Council did receive two written submissions opposing the bylaw change.

“I have a very narrow backyard and the thought of a neighbour setting up a chicken coop on the other side of the fence would affect my family and I, greatly!” wrote Dave Spencer. “During the warmer months, we eat most of our meals there and don’t need the smell and noise created ruining the enjoyment of our special place.”

Sidney had been the only municipality in the Capital Regional District to not allow backyard hens.

Coun. Richard Novak had said in the Feb. 12 meeting, that this is because the lot sizes are smaller in Sidney than in many places, and that considering the close quarters, he thought allowing backyard chickens would breed “animosity” between neighbours.

Novak was joined in opposition to the bylaw change by Coun. Chad Rintoul and Scott Garnett.

People who want to keep backyard hens will have to apply for a hen-keeping permit first. This will be required at the time of construction or alteration of an enclosure or chicken coop.

A maximum of five chickens will be permitted and only allowed on properties that include a single-family dwelling as the primary use. Properties must also be larger than 550 square metres.

The hen enclosures must also be located at least three metres from side and rear property boundaries, and at least 4.5 metres away from any window or door of any residential building.

Other restrictions on size and height of hen enclosures are included in the bylaw, as well as a prohibition on slaughtering or burying hens on the lot in which they are kept.

Any sale of meat or eggs is also prohibited, as the keeping of hens is to be only for personal use.

The fee for a hen-keeping permit will be $100.

READ MORE: Sidney on the verge of allowing backyard chickens

About the Author: Mark Page

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