A backyard chicken inspects food near its backyard coop behind a home in Fernwood. News file photo

BCSPCA’s proposed limits on chickens go too far: urban food advocate

Capping the number of hens at 12 an unnecessary solution, Aaren Topley tells Victoria council

Victoria council is still cluck-clucking about what to do about chickens in the city.

In a committee of the whole meeting Thursday morning, councillors heard the opinion of Aaren Topley, co-chair of the Victoria Urban Food Table. He was speaking in response to proposed changes to the BCSPCA animal responsibility bylaw recommendations that, in part, seek to limit the number of animals allowed on any one property.

The City of Victoria’s consideration of changes to its own animal control bylaw coincides with a neighbourhood dispute in the Rockland area, where a building owner wanted to bring in 99 chickens to help feed her tenants.

“However long we’ve had a council, we’ve never had a chicken bylaw. So for bylaws to be created because of one issue in 100 years … it’s a little bit ridiculous,” Topley said with a laugh.

He made four related recommendations for councillors to consider:

• A rejection of the newly proposed BCSPCA bylaws, with the exception that chicken food should be kept in secure storage, and that there is timely removal of debris, food and manure from the coop

• A rejection on a 12-hen limitation, saying it’s too restrictive and suggesting instead that an application process be put in place for people interested in owning 30 or more chickens.

• A rejection of the idea that chicken owners must live on the property, for instances such as shared chickens or school-raised chicks, and

• That more resources and information are provided to the public on the benefits of urban hens, and on good hen keeping practices.

Topley’s original proposal was to limit the number of chickens to 30 per property, but he conceded that 12 to 15 birds is probably a more reasonable amount for people to have without needing an application.

“We represent a lot of individuals interested in urban farming,” he said, “and the key message is about good chicken care practices.”

City staff are currently working on recommendations for proposed bylaw changes, a report on which is expected to come back to committee of the whole at a later date. 

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Just Posted

More wind storms to hit Vancouver Island, expected to taper off for Christmas Day

Another special weather statement in effect for evening of Dec. 19

Courtesy parking tickets invite Victoria to pay it forward

Christmas program to cut drivers a break in the city has run for more than two decades

Councillor criticizes board overseeing wastewater treatment project

Coun. Judy Brownoff accuses project board of ignoring public input

Catch last call and a cheap ride home: Late night buses coming to Victoria in 2019

New plan will extend service on weekends with last trip leaving downtown at 3 a.m.

West Shore RCMP investigating after parking lot carjacking in Langford

Man was thrown from his vehicle near Millstream Road McDonald’s Monday night

Santa visits some of Victoria General Hospital’s littlest patients

Santa flew in to the hospital via air ambulance helicopter

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

UBC study could spare cancer patients from side effects of radiation

Her research has drawn a connection of Chromosome 6 genes to pulmonary fibrosis susceptibility.

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Laverne & Shirley’ star, ‘Big’ director Penny Marshall dies

Marshall died of complications from diabetes on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, at her Hollywood Hills home. She was 75.

B.C. Court of Appeal to rule in terror case that centres on RCMP conduct

B.C.’s appeal court is scheduled to release a decision today on a couple whose guilty verdict over plotting to blow up the provincial legislature was thrown out by a lower court judge.

Trump backs off on demand for $5 billion to build a border wall

Congress and President Donald Trump continue to bicker over his demand that lawmakers fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Canadian detained in China, not clear if related to two other detentions

Reports suggest the person is not a diplomat or entrepreneur doing business in China.

Trudeau sees 2019 election as choice between positive Liberals, divisive Tories

Trudeau is drawing much the same battle lines that propelled the Liberals to a come-from-behind victory in 2015

Most Read