Chickens may fly the coop in Castlegar

Castlegar council looks at chickens, SPCA facility, speed indicator signs and hockey grants.

Frustration over a lack of commitment and follow through from residents who were asking for the right to keep backyard chicken coops has led most city councillors to be disappointed with the project and Coun. Bruno Tassone to make a motion that “by Oct. 15 all applicants must have all requirements done or the urban chicken pilot project is cancelled.”

A debate ensued about the merits of cancelling the project verses letting it continue and the amount of staff and council time the project is consuming.

Tassone gave a timeline that showed that this project has been in the works for two years. Only eight people applied for the project, six had backed out by May. Two were endorsed in June, neither of which showed up for the start-up meeting in July and have yet to comply with all of the requirements.

Of particular concern was that the project was designed to cover two summers and one winter and the late start-ups will now only cover one summer, providing less information for making a decision as to whether to continue to allow chickens after the pilot project.

“I’m disappointed in all of the people that were there banging on our door saying, ‘Hey you guys, let us do it,’” said Coun. Dan Rye. “Well, we opened the door and said go for it and they haven’t come forward. But if we cut it short now, future councils are going to have to deal with this issue again.”

“We promised 18 months, I think we give it 18 months,” said the project’s most ardent supporter Deb McIntosh. “It’s not that I’m not disappointed in those who talked to me year after year after year about their rights of having chickens and growing their own food — believe me, I am very disappointed in it.”

“I don’t understand — if you love chickens and you want to have them in your backyard, why can’t you meet the requirements?” said Coun. Florio Vassilikakis.

Several councillors didn’t want to scrap the project just yet so Tassone’s motion failed, but a succeeding motion to move the deadline to March 2018, which is a full year from the project’s start date, passed unanimously.

In other council decisions, one of the final steps necessary to see the new West Kootenay Animal Centre come to pass was taken care of Tuesday night when council granted a development permit to the SPCA to construct the facility at 124 Heritage Way.

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