Definitions added for poultry and farm animals in bylaw

North Cowichan determines the backyard chicken issue requires more public input

North Cowichan council held four public hearings Wednesday following a brief agenda for its regular meeting.

The first looked at the rezoning application for Bylaw 3758 (Keeping of Farm Animals and Poultry).

“This was a housekeeping bylaw borne out of changing our Animal Control Bylaw to the Animal Responsibility Bylaw earlier this year, which left us without any regulation for the keeping of poultry, rabbits and farm animals,” explained Mayor Al Siebring.

After hearing from members of the public, council gave the bylaw third reading.

“Regulations mainly remain the same, but we added definitions for ‘poultry’ and ‘farm animals,’” Siebring indicated. “This means no poultry can be kept on lots smaller than .41 acres, which is consistent with the previous bylaw. Council requested that staff not enforce this at this time, and agreed that the ‘backyard chickens’ issue requires more public input that would be most appropriately addressed through the update to our Official Community Plan which is currently underway.”

The public provided input on Zoning Amendment Bylaw 3763 which would permit retail cannabis sales at 8432 Trans-Canada Highway, off Mount Sicker Road near the Red Rooster.

Council gave the bylaw third reading, and it will be back before council for final adoption in the coming weeks.

The regular meeting began with a delegation from Chris Duncan, president of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce.

“Council hears from the Chamber every year around this time, with highlights of their annual operations,” Siebring indicated. “We learned that between community events and the Visitor Centre, they have served almost 30,000 visitors this year, which is triple the number that they used to see at their old location on Coronation Street, and down a bit from their record year of 38,000 in 2018.”

The Visitor Centre relies heavily on funding in the form of grants-in-aid from both North Cowichan and the City of Duncan, and expressed an eagerness to discuss a more stable funding arrangement with municipal partners going forward.

The next regular council meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 1:30 p.m.

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