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Hamilton city council officially says no to urban hens

A proposal to allow for ownership of hens within Ward's 1,2 and 3 has been defeated by Hamilton City Council.
A proposal to allow for ownership of hens within Ward's 1,2 and 3 has been defeated by Hamilton City Council. AP Photo/Dean Fosdick

The hopes of backyard chicken enthusiasts have officially flown the coop.

Hamilton city council, by a count of 10-6, has voted not to study an urban hen pilot program that would have potentially allowed for ownership of the animals in parts of the lower city.

The outcome echoes a decision made by the planning committee on Oct 20.

Read more: 3rd try not the charm for Hamilton’s urban hen supporters

Ward 1 Coun. Maureen Wilson unsuccessfully urged colleagues to support the idea, saying there’s a chance to learn from other municipalities that are running urban hen pilots, like Toronto and Brantford.

Wilson notes that one of the main arguments against the proposal involves odors that would be created by the chicken coops.

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She adds that she’d “like to receive the information from those jurisdictions that are allowing this, practicing in this and the information that could inform us”, to determine if that concern is real.

Other concerns from opponents of the pilot project are that backyard chicken coops would attract coyotes and vermin to urban areas and that the needed bylaw enforcement would draw resources away from COVID-19 measures.

Read more: Hamilton politicians still resistant to backyard hens

Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark stresses “in the crisis that we’re in, I don’t see this as a priority.”

It’s the third time that Hamilton city council has rejected the potential ownership of hens in urban areas in the past decade.

Currently, Director of Bylaw Enforcment Ken Leendertsee says the city gets around 25 complaints each year about people who keep them illegally.

Click to play video: 'Questions remain as Edmonton moves to permanent urban hen program' Questions remain as Edmonton moves to permanent urban hen program
Questions remain as Edmonton moves to permanent urban hen program – Jun 22, 2017

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