In the future, Sidney may open the door for backyard chickens and other types of livestock.
After receiving a letter from Teresa Ainey, the council unanimously asked staff to prepare a report on the subject.
“Can Sydney (residents) raise chickens now?” Aini asked. “We’re the (only) municipality in the whole of greater Victoria where chickens aren’t welcome. Why? This has been brought up to council for years but it’s been hushed up.”
The previous council banned the practice because Sydney’s smaller lots and backyard animals could attract rodents and cause other problems, such as odor conflicts. But in recent years, a growing number of people like Ainey have challenged Sydney’s exceptionalism, including in 2018 when the council received a petition with about 300 signatures, followed by other appeals.
county. Terri O’Keeffe acknowledged this history when pointing to the previous ban on the Official Community Program (OCP). Sydney’s new OCP now includes language to encourage “food production on private property in Sydney where sufficient and appropriate space is available”, opening the door for future livestock farming in urban environments. “It pays to get a report from staff to consider the pros and cons,” O’Keeffe said.
county. Steve Duck agrees on the importance of food security issues. Staff should be able to examine broad policies in other cities in their research, he added. But the public also heard a more critical perspective from Coun. Richard Novick.
While Novek said he would not “oppose in principle” the idea of raising chickens in the backyard, the practice would have to be “extremely regulated” because asking employees to look at the issue more broadly “has a huge potential problem” in in their comments. “Batch volume will be a key factor,” he said.
He also wondered whether staff would be able to adopt policies elsewhere for Sydney, given its density relative to other communities in greater Victoria.
county. Meanwhile, Sara Duncan asked staff to look into the process other municipalities use to decide which animals are allowed and under what circumstances.
Duncan said she wasn’t looking for an animal-by-animal breakdown. “Because that way the crew could get in trouble — sorry,” she said, drawing approving laughs.
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