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Armstrong council to consider backyard chicken and beekeeping

Backyard chickens closer

Backyard chicken and beekeeping is back on the agenda in Armstrong.

Councillors will discuss a good neighbour bylaw amendment this evening and are expected to give first two readings to the change.

A six-month grace period would be given to allow non-compliant keepers of bees or hens to bring their property into compliance without penalty.

The move follows a survey of residents in February, and in August, council referred the matter to staff to report back on implementation of the program.

The survey found 80.9% of respondents in favour of the keeping of chickens.

The largest share, 42.66%, felt six should be the maximum number of permitted hens, community services manager Warren Smith says in a report to council.

Limits in communities across B.C. range from four to 10 hens in residential zones. The average in comparable size communities is five.

The cost of administering the program would depend on the degree of regulation, enforcement and monitoring, the report states.

Most local governments enforce backyard chicken and bee regulations on a complaint basis only, it was noted.

What to do with unclaimed "at-large" chickens and how they are impounded, must also be considered. Victoria allows for them to be adopted, for example.

The February survey received 447 responses.

Thirty-five comments were received against the proposal. Concerns included noise, odour, stings, placement of hives, the commitment required to keep bees or chickens, rodents, cleanliness and conflict with other animals.

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