CORNER BROOK It may not be that unusual to allow a resident to have hens in many Newfoundland communities, but it is unique in Canadian cities.
However, that is just what Corner Brook’s council permitted a resident to do at its regular monthly meeting Monday evening.
Jeff Siddall was granted approval to keep his four hens, which he raises on his Pine Street property to eat the eggs, as a pilot project.
Coun. Gary Kelly said only a handful of Canadian cities — Victoria, B.C. and Kingston, Ont being two — have such a specific policy or legislation in place. He sees it as a progressive step for the municipality.
“In regards to all the discussion around food security and sustainability, this growing your own food and community gardens are becoming much more fashionable or desirable for a number of people,” Kelly said.
Oddly enough, the pilot project has resulted from a complaint that Siddal was keeping the hens on his property. The city received a complaint from a townsite resident, who Kelly said was not an immediate neighbour, and the man was not aware he was not allowed to have them.
The councillor said the city’s animal control legislation does not specifically address hens, so this study could help develop such a policy. People with the Western Environment Centre are also helping to monitor the study.
During a request for public comment, the city received nine submissions — a telephone call, three emails, and four letters of support and one phone call objecting due to concerns of noise and order.
At the request of Coun. Leo Bruce, an ammendment was made to the motion to be able to revoke the urban hen trial permit if any problems are encountered.
Kelly is confident there will be no issues. He said he was surprised to learn that raising hens is not a simple process. He said they actually will not lay eggs if their nesting conditions are not clean and suitable.