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Editorial: Council correctly sides with chickens

Ultimately, the more the city can do to help facilitate residents in their desire to grow food the better – be that beehives, backyard hens, or maybe next boulevard veggie gardens – the better for our community.
eggs Dr Brass
If a pilot project goes well Yorkton residents may soon be able to collect eggs from their own backyard hens. (File Photo)

YORKTON - A decade or so in time, and of course a generally different roster on Yorkton Council had proven to make a difference – at least for those who have aspirations to have a few backyard chickens.

Monday, following a presentation requesting Council allow a few hens in backyards, Council quickly gave at least tentative approval.

The motion, made by Councillor Chris Wyatt was to “approve the request for harbouring urban chickens at this particular residence as a pilot ending September 1, 2025, on the condition that an agreement between the property owner and the city with specifications on responsible management of urban chickens be prepared and executed.”

It was a motion quite similar to how Council addressed the initial request for a resident wanting honey bee hives in their yard, a pilot project where in this case the city can get its – well hens in-a-row – to ensure the chicken initiative goes well.

In this case it is likely to be rather straight forward.

In her presentation to Council Rachel Gregoire read from a letter noting “across Canada there are many large urban centers that allow backyard flocks for their residents including Red Deer, Edmonton, Vancouver and Niagara Falls. I was legitimately surprised to learn that Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the only provinces in Canada that do not regularly allow urban backyard flocks.”

That means other forward thinking cities – of which Yorkton can finally count itself – have been allowing hens for some time. One would expect it will not be a particularly arduous task for city administration to get the regulations from another city, change a word here or there in the document and have a basically ready made blueprint for what is expected on a backyard chicken owner.

Then it will be up to Gregoire and her family to do things right over the next 14 months so that others might have chickens once the word pilot is dropped and the birds are simply allowed in September 2025.

The  tentative approval is a good thing for Yorkton, and one would hope other communities in the province that may follow this lead, as it allows people another small option to be food self sufficient without it impinging on normal urban life.

This will not be for everyone any more than the allowance of beehives. A few will consider chickens. Most will opt for store bought eggs. But, for a few the hens will be a learning tool for children, and a source of many tasty omelets.

And, it is unlikely neighbours will be as affected as they would be for a yappy dog being added by someone on the street.

Ultimately, the more the city can do to help facilitate residents in their desire to grow food the better – be that beehives, backyard hens, or maybe next boulevard veggie gardens – the better for our community.