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Chicken coops a no-go for Grande Prairie

Although there was a glimmer of hope for urban hens, they are still not allowed in the city of Grande Prairie. If the proposed Livestock Exemption Permit was given the go ahead by city council Monday night, it would have allowed 10 people to have the coops. That would be 1 for every 6900 residents. Each household would have been allowed a maximum of four chickens and a license would have been needed for each at a cost of $10 each.

Natalie Hibbert lives in the north end of the city and was against having the animals within the city limits. She is relieved that the permit didn’t pass.

“I am not looking forward to the pests it [could] bring in to my yard. I already spent some money trying to keep cats out of my yard. My neighbour has spent money on cat traps and utilized the enforcement services six times in the last year.”

Other residents brought up noise, smell and spread of disease as reasons to not have the animals in neighbourhoods.

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Mayor Bill Given, Councillor Rory Tarant and Councillor Chris Thiessen were all willing to give chicken owners a shot. Tarant says he grew up on an acreage with chickens. He compared having chickens to owning a dog in the city.

Although the permit isn’t going ahead, it doesn’t mean that it is the end of the conversation, according to Enforcement Services Manager Chris Manuel. He explains that he expects concerns to continue and the GP Urban Hens to come back with a new plan for advocacy.

“They will likely advocate what their position is and see if they can any traction with the next council. What we saw here today, and for the rest of this council’s term anyway, it is going to remain status quo.”

In July, Rebecka Keyes with the Urban Hens group voiced that the 10 coops was too small a number. She said there was a larger number of people wanting to get involved in a project like this.

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