By Andru McCracken

Backyard chickens may have gotten platinum reviews in a recent survey, egg-hungry fowl fans shouldn’t do the funky chicken just yet. Residents are largely in favour. More than 64% of those who responded to the Village of

Valemount’s Backyard Chicken Community Feedback Survey supported backyard chickens. 28% did not support the idea and about 8% were unsure. The survey had a wide circulation: 181 residents responded.

Even chicken fans acknowledged the birds could bring problems, for example, 43% or respondents were concerned about their potential to attract wildlife, rodents and pests.

Deputy Corporate Officer Carleena Shepherd said that because chickens are currently prohibited in the Zoning Bylaw and the Official Community Plan it’s best to deal with the issue during the upcoming Official Community Plan review.

Staff from every department, planning, bylaw, and public works pointed to potential problems experienced by other municipalities.

For example, in the conclusion of his in-depth report to council, Bylaw Services Supervisor Dean Schneider said: “With food security on everyone’s mind, it may seem logical to think that there is a need to allow people to have chickens to produce their own eggs despite there being no evidence of a shortage. It should be
noted that “farm fresh” eggs are currently available from local farms within agricultural areas,” wrote Schneider in his report. “In view of the above, it is the opinion of Bylaw Services that the keeping of poultry should remain limited to the RR1 zone to the west of Highway 5, as this area permits similar agricultural land uses and have an appropriate lot area to mitigate impacts on the property and on adjacent land uses.”

Shepherd said that if chickens were permitted, keeping them would be tightly regulated with application, permitting and inspection procedures, chicken coop standards, minimum distances from adjacent lands, mandatory procedures for disposal of carcasses and byproducts, no on-site slaughter or commercial sale and with consequences for non compliance.