Qualicum council gives second reading to backyard poultry bylaw amendments

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Qualicum Beach Town Council gave second reading to several bylaw amendments that would provide licensing and regulations for residential backyard poultry.

Under the proposed bylaw, owners would need to pass an inspection before receiving their licence. After this residents would be able to renew yearly similar to dog licensing, according to Luke Sales, director of planning.

Chickens would need to be kept with 3 m setbacks from the side and rear lot lines and from windows and doors. No slaughtering or sales on-site would be allowed. Residents would be permitted to keep up to six chickens or ducks.

During council’s Feb. 2 meeting, the proposed bylaw was amended to raise the minimum size requirement was increased to 1,000 square metres from 700 square metres.

Coun. Scott Harrison pointed out four existing permit holders would be prohibited from keeping backyard poultry based on the increased size requirement.

There are about 1,400 residential properties larger than 1,000 square metres (42 per cent) and about 3,000 residential properties larger than 700 square metres (88 per cent), according to Sales.

A motion to give the bylaw second reading was passed 3–1, with Coun. Teunis Westbroek voting against. Coun. Robert Filmer was not present at the meeting.

The bylaw will need to pass a third reading before it can be adopted.

The town will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. on April 6 during council’s regular meeting.

Qualicum Beach launched a backyard chickens pilot project in 2017, which ended in 2020. Council initially planned to end the project, but reconsidered and instead launched a survey to gauge opinion on keeping backyard poultry.

A survey last fall found a slim majority of residents are in favour of allowing backyard chickens. The suggested rules are a result of council directing staff to examine bylaws in other municipalities and report back.

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