Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay city council rejects backyard chickens

Plans for legal backyard chicken coops in Thunder Bay will have to wait. At last night's meeting, city councillors voted 8-4 against proposed bylaw amendments that would have made it permissible to keep chickens within city limits, under a number of conditions.

Monday's 8-4 vote ends, for now, talk started at council last year

The 'coop gallery' on The Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy website shows what current unsanctioned urban chicken coops in Thunder Bay look like. (tbfoodstrategy.ca)

Plans for legal backyard chicken coops in Thunder Bay will have to wait.

At last night's meeting, city councillors voted 8-4 against proposed bylaw amendments that would have made it permissible to keep chickens within city limits, under a number of conditions.

"It really is about sustainable food, healthier food, access to nutritious food,"  Coun. Andrew Foulds told CBC News. "And building that education piece between human beings and where they get their food from."

Foulds, who has been a proponent of allowing backyard poultry since the idea surfaced at city hall, told CBC's Superior Morning on Tuesday that he could sense a number of councillors had "discomfort" about the idea, adding that he attempted to propose an alternative.

"I did put forward a motion to refer it back to administration to contemplate whether there would need to be another public meeting," he said.

"And whether it would be more palatable to council to have a temporary bylaw, see how it went, report back to council and if it didn't work out, say no and if it did, then maybe everybody would be more comfortable."

That idea was also rejected by council.

Part of Thunder Bay food strategy

The idea to allow up to, and including, six hens to be kept in a backyard coop, came about as part of Thunder Bay's food strategy, Foulds said.

But in the year the issue has been discussed at city hall, councillors have heard a number of concerns, including those around health, property values and how effectively the city would be able to enforce the bylaw.

Foulds said that existing city bylaws already cover the concerns raised.

The idea of issuing permits for chicken owners has also been raised, but was not favoured by city administration.

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