Penticton mutes backyard clucking

There will not be any clucking and pecking in Penticton backyards anytime soon.

The backyard hen pilot project is not moving forward, after council did not approve temporary use permits at Tuesday's meeting.

"I am very disappointed," said acting mayor Garry Litke, one of the three who voted for the permits Tuesday. "This community has been very clear about their desire to have the hens and we have a history of being an agricultural community, but I guess there is a fear of the unknown."

The project had been approved by the council when Dan Ashton was there.

Now that he has been elected to provincial office, there are six council members, and a 3-3 vote meant the motion went down to defeat.

Councillor Helena Konanz who was opposed, said she was worried about complaints from neighbours, while Councillor Andrew Jakubeit, who also voted against, questioned what will happen to the chickens down the road.

In January, in response to growing public interest for urban hens, a report to council was presented providing options to allow the hen keeping.

An 18-month pilot project was endorsed, and since then staff have been accepting applications for temporary use permits that would allow households in set zones to keep up to five backyard hens.

Project applicants were instructed not to invest in any materials like coops, until after the permits had been through the entire process.

The process would have included a public hearing, tentatively set for June 4.

As the permits did not move to the next stage, there will be no public hearing.

"There were at least 23 applicants ready to go and a waiting list beyond that," said Litke. "Now we will have to wait until presumably there is a change in council. It may be an election issue."

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