Gateway Gazette

Council to Discuss ‘the Birds and the Bees’ at Upcoming Meeting

 

High River, AB: Council will consider a delegation regarding the possibility of permitting urban chicken coops and backyard beehives within town limits at its June 22 meeting.

The current Animal Control Bylaw 4247/2009 would permit chicken coops and/or beehives only with the permission of the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer.

chicken coop“A brief survey has been posted on the Town’s website to determine residents’ level of interest in one or both of these ideas,” says Mayor Craig Snodgrass. “Voting closes on June 26.”

The benefits could include:

  • educational opportunities (i.e. teaching children about where food, such as eggs and/or honey comes from, and providing animal care experience)
  • cultivating bee populations (bees are vital to crop pollination and are an endangered species worldwide)
  • eggs harvested in this manner are believed to be fresher, taste better and pesticide free
  • contributing to global environmental sustainability with local initiatives
  • helping to reduce carbon emissions associated with transporting food

While very remote, there are some concerns associated and they are:

  • problems with the number, age, and sex of chickens (how many to keep, whether to include chicks or roosters)
  • bee stings, bee allergies
  • food safety issues (egg safety, unlawful sale or distribution)
  • improper chicken (hen) care and treatment (ensuring there is not disease transmission from sick hens)
  • pests, predators, noise and chicken waste

If resident support results in project approval, council may prohibit the sale or distribution of eggs and/or honey to others outside of the household in order to comply with relevant Provincial/Federal legislation. Administration may also limit the number of chickens and/or hives per household and ensure they are located in a manner that will reduce noise and other complaints.

A page called ‘Urban Chicken Coops & Bee Hives’ has been created under the Public Forum menu on the Town’s website, www.highriver.ca, where the survey can be found.

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