At the Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on June 20, Aliyyah Phady made a delegation to Council asking that she be allowed to continue keeping 3 Miniature Bantam chickens in her back yard at 304 Tweed Street despite the Town’s By-Laws prohibiting this. She said the 7 year old chickens had only a little time left to live. Staff has already extended the time to comply by 30 days. Council asked staff to report and provide options and this was done at the CoW meeting on July 11. Option 1 was to give a further extension, Option 2 was to change the By-Law to allow chickens and Option 3 was the status quo. Also at the same July 11 CoW meeting was a motion from the Sustainability & Climate Emergency Advisory Committee that recommended that Council review By-laws that provide barriers to “Urban Agriculture activities which include growing, processing, distributing or selling”.
Given that unlike nearby municipalities, Cobourg is primarily Urban, Council was not in a hurry to approve keeping chickens in a back yard nor to immediately ask Staff to look at Urban Agriculture. Mayor Henderson was particularly concerned with the likelihood of a rat infestation. However, Councillor Darling moved that a 90 day extension (Option 1) be granted but that after that, the existing by-Laws prohibiting back yard chickens be enforced. His motion carried.
When Council came to consider the motion from the Sustainability & Climate Emergency Advisory Committee that wanted Cobourg to open up to Urban Agriculture, Brent Larmer commented that (specifically) selling from a backyard was currently not allowed. However, Council was concerned with the considerable staff work involved in reviewing all By-Laws so Brian Darling moved that it be deferred to the new year for the new council and that it be tracked in unfinished business with no target date.
As a footnote, this is not the first time this subject has come up. On August 2, 2013, Dominik Wisniewski at Northumberland News reported that 2 residents were told that although growing things was OK, keeping chickens was not. See the original news report here.
- Delegation request re Backyard Chickens
- Full Staff report on Backyard Chickens
- Motion from Sustainability & Climate Emergency Advisory Committee