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Collingwood councillor hopes to spark backyard chicken debate

Currently, backyard chickens are not permitted in Collingwood, however councillors may open the debate to bring forward a licensing program to allow them in town

Coun. Chris Potts is hoping to open up the chicken coop.

In a notice of motion put forward by the Collingwood councillor at council’s April 8 committee of the whole meeting, he’s asking town staff to look at updating its existing bylaws and report back on a possible backyard chicken licensing program.

But they won't limit the scope of the probe to just chickens.

Also as part of the motion, staff will explore a framework for both backyard hen coops and other small-scale livestock rearing, which can include bees, goats or rabbits. The framework would be explored through a bylaw update which would include public consultation, and staff would report back to council on options for council to consider.

Currently, backyard chickens are not allowed in the Town of Collingwood as the town’s zoning bylaw prohibits use of a lot for the raising, breeding, keeping or intensive feeding of livestock or any prohibited animal or private zoo.

In the neighbouring municipality of the Town of The Blue Mountains, chickens are only permitted in areas designated by the town’s zoning bylaw and are not permitted in areas zoned residential.

Following a successful six-year pilot project, City of Orillia council voted in March 2023 to make their backyard hen program permanent, which allows residents to keep up to four hens, confined to a coop and/or chicken run for the purpose of laying eggs. Their program is limited to properties with a lot size greater than 500 square metres. There is a $100 one-time fee to obtain a licence. Roosters are not permitted, and the selling of eggs is prohibited.

Potts made brief comments on the motion while reading it in, acknowledging the benefits of urban agriculture. The notice of motion will be considered by council at a future meeting.

- With files from Greg McGrath-Goudie

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen is an experienced journalist working for Village Media since 2018, primarily covering Collingwood and education.
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