Chilliwack says no to backyard chickens

Chilliwack councillor Jason Lum said he sees the benefits of backyard chickens for Chilliwack, and was the lone dissenter in the vote.

Allowing backyard chickens in urban areas could put the larger commercial poultry industry in Chilliwack at risk of Avian Flu

Chilliwack councillor Jason Lum said he sees the benefits of backyard chickens for Chilliwack. They might even outweigh the risks.

But he was outvoted on this one.

The rest of council voted Tuesday to maintain the status quo, which means no backyard chickens in Chilliwack’s residential areas.

City officials said they’ve fielded requests over the years from residents who would like to be able have backyard chickens in residential areas, including a presentation to an ag advisory committee by resident Nicholette Devenney.

Chickens are only permitted on agricultural land at the moment.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz said she understood those who wish to add a few hens, especially those already growing their own food, are foodies or fans of food shows, for example.

But she reminded everyone of the Avian Flu outbreaks of 2004 and 2009, which had devastating impact on Chilliwack and led to mass culling of infected flocks.

There were 80 farms quarantined during the last avian flu outbreak.

Coun. Ken Huttema warned that allowing backyard poultry in urban areas would be “putting the bigger industry at risk.”

Avian flu is “something that scares everybody” but on a daily basis salmonella and e.coli also come into play.

“We don’t want anyone getting sick because they’ve eaten contaminated eggs, and then the whole industry gets tainted with that.”

But Lum stressed later that although he supported democracy and the outcome of the vote, he still supports the idea if a “responsible” pilot project similar that of City of Surrey as well.

“I hope we get a chance to address the risks that were wisely brought up by staff and Council and revisit the situation,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

A staff report on the city website documents the Agricultural Advisory committee discussion and decision to stay with the status quo on the topic of urban hens.

“Committee members expressed concern regarding the introduction of an agricultural use in urban areas and discussed issues concerning end of life (including butchery and disposal), spread of disease, care for unwanted chickens, attracting vermin, bylaw enforcement and cost considerations.

It came down to urban chickens being seen as carrying too high a risk.

“Committee members noted that the protection of agricultural industry was of import and there is convenient, local access to farm fresh eggs within the City of Chilliwack.

“Given the concerns noted, the AAC unanimously resolved to recommend to Council that consideration be given to continued support of the City’s current land use regulations permitting the keeping of poultry on properties zoned for agricultural uses only.”

The mayor said staff spent a lot of time researching the whole issue.

“But I do understand that people want it. Maybe we can look at it again someday when there are some preventable measures in place.”

Just Posted

Chilliwack-Hope incumbent Conservative sums up Andrew Scheer’s election promises so far

Strahl says his party’s tax credit promises designed to put more money in the pockets of Canadians

Rainbow crosswalk plan gets council support in Hope

Council writing letter of support to community group for crosswalk project

Task force on inclusion, diversity and accessibility coming for Chilliwack

Idea for rainbow crosswalk nixed but council listened to feedback and will appoint task force

Rainbow crosswalk coming to Chilliwack school district parking lot

Fractious debate at school board meeting ends with 4-3 vote

Hard rock tribute band Led Zepagain returns to Chilliwack Cultural Centre

‘It’s as close as you’ll ever get to the real deal,’ says Led Zeppelin founder Jimmy Page

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says

Proposals sparked protest in Kootenays, Williams Lake region

Two B.C. women selected to compete on ABC’s The Bachelor

Mykenna Dorn and Alexis Thind will compete for bachelor Peter Weber’s heart

Charges dropped against Mountie involved in shooting death of Surrey man

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

Break out the tiki torches: Open fires allowed again in B.C.’s coastal region

All open fires allowed effective at noon on Sept. 18

Vaping-related illness confirmed in Ontario believed to be first in Canada

Middlesex-London Health Unit had no further details about the case — believed to be the first confirmed in Canada

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re ‘stepping away’ from ice dancing

The pair thank fans for their support in an emotional message

Most Read