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Kitimat pilot project on hen keeping gains traction with 18 participants


Kitimat’s backyard hen pilot project has seen a notable increase in participation, now involving 18 households. This follows a decision by the district to extend the original registration deadlines after attracting only six participants in February. The project, which had been allocated 12 spots for new hen raisers, divided equally among Kitimat’s three neighbourhoods, was also open to all of the estimated 25 households previously keeping hens in contravention of municipal bylaws.

As of the extended March 31 deadline, six new households in total have joined the pilot to start hen keeping, in addition to 12 existing hen keepers who registered their coops. This indicates a registration of approximately half of the pre-existing hen keepers within the district.

In response to concerns raised by council, staff clarified that while the new bylaw related to the pilot project grants the district authority to take action against those who haven’t registered, enforcement typically does not proactively target bylaw infractions on a “campaign basis”. Instead, interventions will likely be complaint-driven on issues such as the treatment of hens or nuisance and noise complaints.

The initiation of the Backyard Hen Pilot Project was influenced by a resident’s appeal to council, highlighting the benefits of hen keeping for food security and mental health. The project aims to evaluate community sentiment towards backyard coops and encourage unauthorised owners to register their activities.

As the pilot project progresses, council and staff plan to collect feedback from participants, their neighbours, and the broader community. After twelve months of the project’s implementation council will decide on whether to proceed with the policy to allow for hen keeping.

About the Author: Quinn Bender

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