High River Council Approves Urban Chicken Coops and Beehives


High River, AB: Council has approved in principle a recommendation from administration to permit urban chicken coops and backyard beehives, with restrictions, to be kept within Town limits.

At its July 20 meeting, Council directed administration to return to a future meeting with a detailed policy that will outline the conditions permitting chickens and bees to be retained by residents within town limits.

chicken“The urban chicken coops and beehives would only be permitted under license, with limitations and restrictions to be determined,” says Mayor Craig Snodgrass. “Licenses would only be given to applicants who agree to the required conditions.”

Conditions could include limiting the number of chickens/bees permitted, coop/hive size or location, documented consent from neighbours and ensuring non-commercial use of eggs and honey.

Administration has identified both positive and negative impacts of this decision on home owners, their close neighbours and the community in general. An online survey was conducted June 17-26 with final results indicating that 72 per cent of respondents were in support of urban chicken coops and 75 per cent of respondents were in support of backyard beehives.

“There has been considerable examination of the impact of urban chickens and bees on communities throughout Canada and documentation supports the presence of these in urban areas, but only under closely defined limitations,” adds Reiley McKerracher director of Engineering, Planning and Operations for the Town.

The policy and specific licensing criteria will be compiled from a review of other communities and organizations, which have already determined the critical limitations necessary to license and maintain proper ownership in a safe and acceptable manner.

For updates and more information, visit the ‘urban chicken coops and beehives’ page under the Public Forum menu on the Town’s website, www.highriver.ca.