City Council eager to allow backyard chickens

By Chad Klassen
April 18, 2016 - 4:10pm Updated: April 19, 2016 - 12:26pm

KAMLOOPS — They are already roaming around many backyards in Kamloops, and soon there could be more urban chicken. 

WATCH: Full report by Chad Klassen

The issue has not gone to an official vote, but City Council seems prime to pass a by-law that would allow residents in urban areas to raise hens. 

"Of course, I'm in favour of chickens," says Councillor Tina Lange. "I have no desire to raise them myself, but I do think that people should be allowed to if they want." 

Five of the seven Councillors at Monday's special meeting spoke in favour of urban chickens. 

In the staff recommendations to Council, residents would be allowed to have four hens, no roosters, on a 4,000 square foot property, which is the size of a typical single-family home. The chicken coop would have to be in the middle of the property and stand no more than two meters high. 

Right now, there are more than 1,100 properties that can have chickens legally.

For many councillors, the argument in favour of the new by-law is food security and sustainability, which the city has been pushing for. 

"I know some people now that do have hens, and their neighbours don't have any issue with it," says Councillor Donovan Cavers, who says this is a non-issue. "It teaches kids about where their food comes from. It builds that relationship with where your food originates."

Mayor Peter Milobar has long been against urban hens, which he argues will cause a nuisance with noise and smell. 

He also has an issue with the recommendation that reduces the size of the property needed to have chickens. 

"I could probably convince myself to support it if it was on a half-acre or quarter-acre, for people with larger lots," says Milobar. "I have a big problem that we're down to a 4,000 square-foot lot."

Ken Christian, also against the by-law, is concerned about public health, especially that of children. He's also worried about an increase in wildlife conflicts. 

"If you allow urban chickens in Juniper Ridge, it's asking to set up a smorgasbord table for coyotes and for bears in that neighbourhood," says Christian. 

But the rest of Council doesn't feel that's a problem. Councillor Dieter Dudy, who has 100 chickens at his farm in Westsyde, says it would be beneficial to the community.

"We're only talking four hens. They're not going to create this big environmental disaster in people's backyards. Not everyone's going to go for, simply because there's work involved."

Are you in favour of backyard chickens in Kamloops?

Total votes: 313

Police helicopter helps nab alleged car thief