Chickens, again

What’s your view about urban poultry? The Town of Slave Lake would like to know that, along with any number of other things as part of its updating of the Land Use Bylaw and the Municipal Development Plan. These are documents that guide the development process. They tell the town what can and can’t be done in various zones, in other words. So backyard chickens is just one of many, but it’s one quite a few people might be interested in. The town obviously thinks so too; hence the highlight on chickens in the town’s most recent plea for feedback on the two document update projects.

Some residents will remember the great backyard poultry debate on council from about eight years ago. Council was split right down the middle on the issue; some were strongly in favour of amending the Land Use Bylaw to allow chickens, under certain fairly strict conditions. Others envisioned nothing but headaches and were opposed.

The debate was sparked by an application by a couple residing in the southeast part of town. They wanted to keep a couple of exotic chickens as pets in their yard. On the day of the vote, one councillor was absent, and the vote fell three for and three against. A tie equals a defeat in municipal government, and that was that.

In the meantime, both Edmonton and Calgary do allow backyard chickens. So what’s the big deal here?

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