Nelson residents are going to have an opportunity to weigh in on the future of chickens in the city.
At Monday’s special council meeting city staff recommended to council that the city engage in public consultation to see the possible standards and regulations needed to keep hens in Nelson.
The recommendation comes after council passed a motion in the spring asking staff to prepare an amendment to the animal control bylaw to allow for the keeping of hens in the city.
“I think it needs to be put into context of housing animals in the city generally,” said Mayor John Dooley. “I don’t like one offs. I like to see how these things fit overall. What does that mean when we’re done with chickens? Do we go to ducks, then to bees, then goats and on and on?”
Dooley said that no matter what the city does on the topic of backyard chickens the interests of the city and the animals need to be considered.
“Whatever we do needs to have a common sense approach and a good plan and reasonable expectations for the success not only of the municipality but also for the success of people that would house those domestic animals if that was the case,” he said.
The results of the public consultation are intended to be back at council in April for the land use and zoning bylaw review process.
Even though the topic of chickens ruffled a few feathers during the election campaign, Dooley said he hasn’t seen much public pressure on the topic.
“I haven’t heard much from the community to be truthful,” he said.
“We did get what I feel was a fairly well orchestrated barrage of emails from a few people with this idea. But overall, generally speaking I haven’t heard those requests come forward. Having said that, I don’t want to make light of the people that are making the requests. I think it’s fair that we look into it and do the proper research.”