Trail’s Backyard chicken plan fails to fly

Survey results showed 49% of respondents in favour, 51% against.

After gathering input from 148 residents on the City of Trail website and hardcopies at select locations, city council grounded a request to allow the keep of backyard chickens.

Overall survey results show the split was almost 50/50, 49 per cent in favour of changing the bylaw to allow the keep of hens, and 51 per cent opposed.

An interesting twist to the whole proposition is that of 72 respondents saying “yes” the bylaw should be changed, only 34 of those said they would keep chickens on their property.

“There would appear to be limited interest amongst Trail residents to have backyard chickens,” said Michelle McIsaac, the city’s corporate administrator, at Monday’s council meeting. “Considering there are approximately 3,000 households in Trail, it equates to approximately 1 per cent of Trail’s households.”

Further, McIsaac explained that those with a strong desire to have chickens would have made the effort to respond to the survey which ran from October until Nov. 5, and her recommendation to council was the animal control bylaw remain unchanged.

Coun. Eleanor Gattafoni-Robinson enthusiastically moved McIsaac’s recommendation, which was quickly seconded by Coun. Rick Georgetti.

Of the 169 total responses returned, 148 appeared to have been submitted by Trail residents, and most of the concerns expressed about amending the animal control bylaw to allow chickens, were related to the potential for noise, odour, and the attraction of wildlife and vermin.

“Every neighbourhood is too close to the edge of town,” wrote one respondent. “We frequently see wildlife entering all our neighbourhoods. If someone wants farm fresh eggs they can get them from farmers in the community.”

Another key question outlined the need for restrictions if people started keeping chickens on their residential property, to which 96 per cent agreed there must be regulations in place.

Those included a limit on the number of chickens, consideration to property size and location of pens, and no roosters allowed.

“There was a clear indication that nearly all respondents considered restrictions necessary if changes were made,” said McIsaac. “Which would require that staff resources be dedicated to the enforcement of prescribed restrictions.”

Council pursued the issue in response to a letter written to the city in August, when a West Trail resident asked how a permit to keep chickens could be obtained.

Although the request for backyard chickens in city limits lost its wings last night, that doesn’t mean the topic has been put to nest forever.

“The issue could be considered again at a future time,” confirmed McIsaac.