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Resident wants chickens to come home to roost

August 26, 2016   ·   0 Comments

By Michelle Janzen


Local resident Sylvia Lesak wants backyard chickens allowed in Shelburne and is working to convince officials to at least consider a pilot project.

Under Shelburne’s bylaws, chickens are considered an exotic pet and not permitted in Town. Zoning bylaws in place would also effectively prohibit chickens in 96 percent of residential areas of town due to space limitations.

Lesak first approached council in 2010 to challenge the bylaws when she found out the chickens she was keeping on her property were not permitted after a neighbour complained.

Shut down, she got rid of her birds and now is coming to the Town with a more proactive approach this time; whereas before she says she was reactive to the thought of losing her source of protein.

“The birds are a natural, low cost way to have fresh eggs, and [a way of] teaching children valuable lessons,” she said.

“Keeping chickens in urban areas has become a movement of sorts over the past several years and they are permitted in many cities from Mississauga or Orillia with some restrictions,” she told Council. “I think backyard chickens, if done properly with good oversight, can be a good thing for the community.

“This is a trend that is going on in urban areas all over and not just Ferndale. They are taking control of their food and what they put into their bodies. When speaking with officials in Orillia about my plight of wanting chickens in town, they tell me they are willing to help with a pilot project in Shelburne.”

Councillor Dan Sample said he would be willing to take part in the pilot project, while Councillor Randy Chambers said he is opposed to the idea.

“We have bylaws in place and if we amend it for chickens next it will be something else, where does it end?” he questioned. “I think supporting this would open a whole can of worms for other animals people want to keep as urban pets.”

At one point, a Councillor asked Lesak if a rooster is the same thing as a chicken, to which she replied “No, a rooster is totally different, I am asking for laying hens not roosters.”

Shelburne Mayor Ken Bennington admits he doesn’t know much about chickens, however is not opposed to a pilot project.

“I’m no expert but I’m open to being educated,” he said.

Council directed Town Staff to look into what is involved in having a pilot project take place in Shelburne and will return in one or two council meetings to advise if minor variance can be made to existing bylaws in order to proceed.



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