Gateway Gazette

High River Council Passes Urban Chickens and Urban Bees Bylaws

At its May 24 regular meeting, High River Town Council passed bylaw 4470/2016 and bylaw 4471/2016 that will regulate and provide guidelines for residents to keep urban chickens and bees within town limits.

Administration has also prepared licensing criteria that was compiled from a review of other communities and organizations, which have already determined the critical limitations necessary to license and maintain proper ownership of bees and chickens in a safe and acceptable manner.

“These bylaws permit a maximum of three chickens for any individual license holder or two beehives,” said Kara Rusk, manager of legislative services for the Town. “Any person wanting to keep urban chickens or bees must also obtain a Premises Identification (PID) under the Premises Identification Regulation (200/2008) in the Alberta Animal Health Act.”

In June, 2015 Town administration 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.

The bylaws indicate that an application to keep chickens or bees must be submitted and approved along with a fee of $75 and that licenses must be renewed on an annual basis.

Highlights of the new bylaws include:

  • Coops or hives must not pose a safety risk to persons on adjacent public or private property
  • The keeping of urban chickens and/or bees are for personal use only
  • Liability insurance must be obtained by the applicant
  • Applicants must notify their adjacent  neighbours that they intend to apply for an urban chicken or urban bee license
  • Only hens will be allowed to be kept, roosters are not permitted and no more than three (3) hens can be kept on a single property
  • A beekeeping or chicken education course must be completed from an accepted organization or association in order to be approved for a bee or chicken license
  • Only Apis mellifera L, also known as honeybees, are allowed to be kept
  • There can be no more than two (2) hives per property

More information, including the final versions of each bylaw, applications and supplemental information will be posted in the coming days at on the ‘Bylaw & Protective Services’ pages under the  Residents Menu.

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