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Chicken pilot project extended

Red Deer will be home for chickens to roost in backyards for at least another year.

By a vote of 7-1, Red Deer city council opened city backyards to chickens coops for a formal pilot project to run until March 31, 2014.

Some councillors felt the existing pilot was not formal enough with clear guidelines. In February 2012, the city launched a year-long pilot project to assess the issues and impacts of urban chickens.

City administration said there was little feedback or complaints regarding urban coops over the last year. As well there was never a clear indication of how many chickens were being raised in the city.

Coun. Chris Stephan said he had a difficult time supporting the extended pilot after only a few conversations with people in the community.

“We did the same things when we implemented the bike lanes,” said Stephan, who voted against the pilot. “We listened to a small biking group but we did not go to the public and get their general input. I think we really need to get that so we can make better decisions on behalf of the whole community and not just small groups and small segments.”

Councillors agreed there was a need for public consultation over the next year. Council agreed to stay engaged with the urban chicken community through Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub (CLUCK).

Coun. Dianne Wyntjes said the city should be looking at urban farming as a whole because it will not stop with the chickens.

“I am in support of expanding it this time,” said Wyntjes. “Let’s here from our community and those urban farmers that we have right now because I think it is important that we talk about sustainablity.”

Under the pilot, chickens must be registered with the city’s Inspections & Licensing within four months. No other persons will be allowed to own chickens after this four month time period.

Only six chickens and no roosters will be permitted in backyards. There will be a site visit of each registered chicken coop to observe the operation.

Coun. Tara Veer was absent.

City administration will report back to council with a report in February 2014.



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