CVRD chicken rules ruffling feathers

A Saltair woman who raises chickens and sells eggs to her neighbours is concerned a public hearing set of June 15

A Saltair woman who raises chickens and sells eggs to her neighbours is concerned a public hearing set of June 15 may be the first step toward tighter enforcement of what she calls an ‘outdated’ bylaw, limiting to 12 the number of birds owners can keep on Suburban Residential properties without a permit.

But Cowichan Valley Regional District Manager of Development Services Rob Conway said the public hearing is being held to allow for exemptions in the form of ‘temporary use permits’ for residents of Area G (Saltair / Gulf Islands) from Bylaw 2500.

“We manage quite well here. We’ve never had any complaints and we have lots of support,” said Eileen Record, who characterizes the farm-gate egg sales she and her husband have been offering the community for four years as a recreational hobby.

“My concern is the regional district will see some kind of a cash-grab in this and will try to enforce an outdated bylaw,” Record said.

Under Bylaw 2500 residents in R2 Zones are allowed to have up to 12 chickens without a permit. To keep more birds – up to 99 – they are supposed to apply for a permit, which costs $1,000 for the first year and $350 every year thereafter.

“Nobody would be able to produce any chickens aside from the 12,” she predicted, if the existing bylaw is strictly enforced. “Nobody’s making any money off chicken eggs.”

The public hearing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Saltair Community Centre.

Conway said the meeting has been called because another Area G resident has asked for permission to have more birds than Bylaw 2500 allows without having to pay for a permit.

“We’re now at the stage where we need to bring it to the public through this hearing,” he said. If temporary use permits are allowed, they would be made available to anyone in Area G who applies for one and has their application approved by the CVRD.

The change would not apply outside Area G. “At this point the issue is only being brought up in Saltair,” Conway said.