Conditions for the TUP approved Feb. 18, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chilliwack wades into backyard chickens in urban areas

Permit came with several conditions and can be reconsidered by council

Allowing backyard chickens within the urban containment boundary in one instance took the City of Chilliwack into “uncharted” waters this week, as a city councillor described it.

That didn’t stop city council from approving a temporary use permit (TUP) for three hens Tuesday night for Yale Road applicant Cheryl Cavanaugh.

City staff had been recommending that council deny the application given the current rules excluding properties zoned R1A, but council chose instead to approve it in this case, but with a list of conditions like the limit of three hens, and no roosters allowed. There were also conditions about location of the chicken coop, animal control regulations, and more.

Cavanaugh described her extensive food gardens, and the hens, explaining that as a single parent, she produces “literally thousands of pounds of food” every year without chemicals, and takes in women in recovery into her home.

The chickens are crucial for pest control. There been a sudden, huge increase in pests destroying gardens, especially stink bugs, in the past three years, which she attributes the onslaught to a type of bee-killing pesticide having been banned. She doesn’t use pesticides or herbicides, but many do.

“My chickens, though, will take a stink bug over a raspberry every time,” Cavanaugh pointed out.

“It’s not that I want them. I need them,” she said about her hens, adding that they forage all winter and are fed very little.

The need to go through the TUP process was in part because her property measures just under a quarter-acre, and was not the minimum half-acre required.

Coun. Harv Westeringh asked about the complaints from the neighbourhood.

Cavanaugh said there was the one, and that’s why she had to apply for the TUP, but she also brought five letters of support from her immediate neighbours, and another five had been sent to city hall.

One complaint had been received, but she said it was due to the noise caused by a former chicken she had that would sing “off-key opera” early every morning.

Coun. Jeff Shields asked how she would deal with the manure, and the answer was disposal with an industrial composter.

Coun. Jason Lum said it would be no surprise to hear he was in support of the backyard chicken proposal, telling Cavanaugh she had made a “compelling case” for approving her TUP application.

“I would like to see more of this around the city,” Lum said.

Mayor Ken Popove said he’d been by the property and never knew the chickens were there, but said he was a little concerned about the new neighbours she would have soon.

“This is new, uncharted territory,” Coun. Shields said. “Maybe it’s time to take a chance.”

If anyone was going to be a “responsible, urban farmer,” it would be Cavanaugh.

Coun. Westeringh underlined he was not in favour of a bylaw change, since there were “lots of opportunities for people” to have chickens on larger or agricultural properties. But he said Cavanaugh was a good “contender” for the use of the TUP process in this case.

Coun. Bud Mercer said he believed the applicant would be “a good steward” of her property and the neighbourhood.

Coun. Lum praised the TUP process that allows council to support applications like this one on a case-by-case basis.

READ MORE: First TUP for chickens was in 2016

He appreciated the applicant “taking steps to grow healthy food, regenerate the soil and deal with pests in a permaculture way that is healthy for the environment. I’m glad to see it.”

Mayor Popove said he would “cautiously support” it, as it took council into uncharted waters, but added that he does support “out-of-the-box-thinking.”

Eryne Croquet is a member of ‘Support for Backyard Chickens in Chilliwack,’ a group founded by Nicholette Devenney, and she was in council chambers at the time of the vote.

“By approving the TUP, Chilliwack City Council recognized that Chilliwack is changing,” Croquet said. “Their approval gives hope to future chicken keepers that they will be able to legally keep hens in urban areas of the city.”

READ MORE: Chilliwack said no to backyard chickens in 2014

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

AgricultureCity of Chilliwackzoning

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Cheryl Cavanaugh asks for a temporary use permit for three backyard chickens at city hall on Feb. 18, 2020, and it was approved. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

Fabrication work for Vedder Bridge roundabout art project is well underway

Funds of $255K held in reserve from new bridge budget do not represent a new cost for artwork

Chilliwack school trustees using Zoom to conduct meetings during pandemic

Public participation not available, but staff taking public questions before and after meetings

A little snow and hail for Chilliwack but no record broken

It was the second snowiest April day in Chilliwack on record Friday

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read