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Princeton rooster, Ricky, threatened with eviction

Town bylaw prohibits roosters, even on land for agricultural use

A Princeton woman and her neighbours, who are raising chickens on land zoned for agricultural purposes, are calling ‘fowl’ over a town bylaw that states they can only keep four birds each and there are no roosters allowed.

Solitaire Steele made a delegation to council Tuesday, Sept. 20, on behalf of the recently formed Airport Road Chicken Association.

Airport Road was part of Area H until 2010, in an agricultural zone that permitted farming.

However once they were zoned Country Residential, as part of the Town of Princeton, they were severely limited by the Back Yard Hen bylaw, despite the fact that Country Residential zoning permits agriculture.

“We want to change the bylaw,” she said.

“We don’t like not following the bylaw, and having to watch our backs all the time…We are on acreages and we are zoned for agriculture (under Country Residential.)”

Problems arose recently, said Steele, when the town bylaw officer visited one of her neighbours to report a complaint about a noisy rooster named Ricky, and was told Ricky had to go.

“I can totally understand the complaint,” Steele admitted, as Ricky had not been being shut in his coop at night, and was crowing early in the morning.

That has been addressed, she said.

It seemed a perfect opportunity to bring the bylaw’s deficiencies to the attention of council, said Steele.

“The backyard hen bylaw doesn’t really fit our area.”

The association is proposing that property owners be allowed to keep up to 20 hens and one permanent rooster, and work on ways to mitigate any neighbourhood concerns.

There has only ever been one complaint, she added.

“What we want to do is to produce eggs and feed our families…People are struggling and they want to be as self-sufficient as possible,” Steele stressed.

“We are not trying to ruffle feathers.”

Following the presentation, Coun. Barb Gould indicated no decisions about moving forward with a bylaw review would be made that evening, while Coun. Tyler Willis acknowledged the property owners may be looking for “a happy medium.”

Related: Cozy coops: How Okanagan backyard farmers keep their chickens warm in the winter

Related: Kelowna animal sanctuary relocates to Peachland

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The newly formed Airport Road Chicken Association wants a new bylaw regarding backyard hens. (MCG photo)

Andrea DeMeer

About the Author: Andrea DeMeer

Andrea is the publisher of the Similkameen Spotlight.
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