Backyard chickens are now allowed in Cobble Hill Village.
Directors in the Cowichan Valley Regional District voted on Dec. 14 to allow up to six hens on properties that are under one-third of an acre in the village for the first time, but no roosters are permitted.
Matteus Clement, the director for Cobble Hill at the CVRD who first brought forth the issue at a board meeting in August, said he's pleased that the board has recognized that local food security is important.
“There was no pushback from directors on this issue because most people realize that this needed to be done,” Clement said.
“The new bylaw also allows authorities to deal with issues like noise by only permitting hens and no roosters.”
The bylaw to allow backyard chickens on small lots in the village area was in response to requests from many in the community who want the hens for their eggs, and sometimes the meat, especially when the concept of the 100-mile diet is becoming more popular.
Resident Tracy Martin canvassed the neighbourhood last summer and collected more than 500 signatures on a petition to allow backyard chickens in the village.
Chickens were already allowed on larger properties in Cobble Hill Village, but not on smaller properties.
The fact that there are now some subdivisions in the area with small lots led to Clement's decision to take up the cause in an effort to follow the latest trends around food security and sustainability.
The issue was raised when the official community plan for the area was prepared five years ago, but it was dropped at the time, mainly due to concerns around noise and smell.
“Many people had just assumed that they could have chickens in the village area, but one gentleman who complained about the disruption and the noise they can create triggered this bylaw to come into effect,” he said.
“Now hens are allowed and bylaw enforcement officers have the authority to deal with the issues, like not allowing roosters, in the new bylaw.”