While Sidney has scratched the idea of backyard chickens in the past, changes may lay ahead in the future.
The latest request to allow backyard chickens comes from Hayleigh Shannon, who argues in a letter to Sidney council that allowing a “few hens” in backyards would provide residents with healthier foods and enrich their lives by caring for animals. “Especially in light of recent restrictions due to COVID-19 I think this would greatly benefit the community,” said Shannon. “I grew up on a farm in Saanich, so I know first hand how a few hens (under 10) can be easily and properly maintained in very small spaces.”
Corey Newcomb, Sidney’s senior manager for long range planning, said in a response to Shannon’s letter that previous councils have not approved backyard chickens for reasons that include Sidney’s generally small lot sizes, neighbourhood concerns, as well as the close proximity of farms supplying eggs and other farm produce on the Saanich Peninsula.
“However, (council) does understand that there is an ongoing desire from some members of the community to keep backyard chickens, and as a result the (municipality) will be looking at this issue again over the coming months,” he said.
This review will happen as part of Sidney’s ongoing review of its Official Community Plan (OCP) expected to wrap up in November 2021. “The OCP review process will consider the idea of backyard chickens along with a number of other sustainability initiatives,” said Newcomb.
Following completion of the OCP review project, the next step in the process would be to bring an amendment to the (animal licence and control bylaw) to council with the winter of 2021-22 being the earliest anticipated date.
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