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Council briefs: Backyard chickens, potential pathways and streaming meetings

Backyard hen party
The Town of Lake Cowichan is inching closer to permitting backyard chickens. (Gazette file)

Backyard hen party

Lake Cowichan Town Council has given first and second reading to amend the zoning bylaw to allow for the keeping of backyard hens.

“If this bylaw becomes adopted by council, that would mean residents would be able to have up to six hens on a residential property,” noted mayor Bob Day. “Of course the bylaw contains numerous clauses to protect the animals, riparian areas and neighbourhoods.”

A resolution to this issue has been years in the making.

During the December Finance and Administration meeting, Coun. Carolyne Austin said “keeping chickens is not for the faint of heart. It is a big commitment and a financial burden not to be taken on without a great deal of consideration and planning. Not everyone will take on raising chickens as hens are hard to find right now and caring for them properly is an expensive hobby.”

She cited COVID-19 and food security as reasons to allow people to keep the birds in their yards if they wished.

Potential pathway

A letter was sent to council asking that a walking trail be considered, joining the Slopes subdivision to the town at a future date.

Elaine Winter made the request, which was then forwarded as correspondence to Urban Systems to incorporate into the current Active Transportation Network study being done.

Winter later explained the need for a trail.

“The highway is just not safe and I’d like to not see anything happen there and if we could prevent it, that would be wonderful,” she explained.

Winter noted there is a bit of a trampled down footpath cutting through the forest going through the old school park “which is not good at all,” as much of the time it’s too wet to use.

With the Slopes development about midway through a 200-home construction process, it would benefit a great many people, she added.

“There’s a lot of people that would like to walk to town but it’s just not accessible,” she said. “It would be such a nice asset for everybody up here.”

The town didn’t say ‘no’, but not ‘yes’ either.

“This request is not feasible at this time, but may be considered as a viable project at a future date,” Mayor Bob Day said.

Councillor Tim McGonigle also noted the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure would need to be consulted on the plan for connectivity.

Unsighty properties

Council gave first, second and third reading to a bylaw to prohibit unsightliness in the Town of Lake Cowichan that replaces an existing bylaw. The new version contains stronger language and more detail, that would allow staff more authority “and hopefully bring compliance to problem properties,” said mayor Bob Day.

Video meetings

The Town of Lake Cowichan council and committee meetings can be viewed virtually live by going to the town’s website and clicking “Live Meetings” or watched at later dates on the Town of Lake Cowichan YouTube channel.