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Blackfalds to survey residents on urban hens

Blackfalds looked at backyard chickens in 2019 but did not go ahead
Blackfalds wants to hear from residents before considering whether to take another look at allowing people to raise chickens in their backyards. (Black Press Media file photo)

Blackfalds will survey residents to get their views on urban hens.

In 2019, the town took a look at the prospect of following the lead of a number of communities in allowing residents to raise a small number of laying hens.

When the results came in, the community was evenly split between those who liked the idea and those who felt urban neighbourhoods were no place for farm fowl.

It was proposed then the town could consider a one-year pilot project starting in May 2020 as long as there were at least 22 pre-applications to support. Council decided not to go ahead at that time.

Mayor Jamie Hoover said recently the town needs to gather more feedback before council can consider urban hens again.

“I think that it’s obvious we reach out to get a little more clarification,” said Hoover.

A local group has been actively lobbying for an urban hen program. Urban hen supporters spoke to a council committee of the whole meeting in January and asked them to reconsider following the lead of other communities, such as Red Deer and Lacombe.

Blackfalds Coun. Rebecca Stendie said it is time to go back to the community to get feedback again. The 2019 survey was not without its flaws. It was lengthy and it was not clear what was being asked.

Since that survey, new residents have come into the community and it is worth putting the question out again, she said.

“I’d like to see from our residents whether or not they’re in favour of this,” she said at a recent council meeting.

Coun. Marina Appel agreed it was time to ask residents about chickens again.

“Since COVID there’s a been a lot more people wanting to garden and whatnot. I think lifestyles have changed somewhat,” she said.

Appel suggested that it be put to the public as a two-year pilot project to start.

Coun. Laura Svab also favoured going to the public again, but she wanted to include a public education component, such as an open house featuring those experienced with raising urban hens.

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Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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