City council drops livestock bylaw, opts for chickens-only plan

Beekeepers buzz off, hasta luego llamas, adiós alpacas, good-bye goats, so long sheep, hop-along horses – council plans chickens-only bylaw

Beekeepers buzz off, hasta luego llamas, adiós alpacas, good-bye goats, so long sheep, hop-along horses – Revelstoke City Council has opted for a chickens-only bylaw.

Despite investing significant city staff time to develop a comprehensive livestock bylaw that was presented at a planning committee meeting in April of this year, Revelstoke City Council has bailed out on the plan, saying completing the job would be too expensive.

(Read about the livestock policy here.)

In early August, Mayor David Raven told the Times Review the livestock bylaw met the chopping block because it would cost too much in staff time to complete. He estimated the cost at $5,000 to $10,000.

But at Revelstoke City Council’s Aug. 27 meeting, Coun. Chris Johnston pushed for a “simple” bylaw that would allow backyard chickens soon, and exclude all other living creatures previously listed on the livestock policy.

(That likely means existing rules for animals other than chickens will remain as-is – allowed, disallowed or grey-area.)

Coun. Johnston said he attended a chicken awareness event at the community centre earlier this year, which drew around 100 people.

“There was a far bigger turnout for that than there was for our town hall meeting,” Johnston said.

Mayor David Raven spoke against re-opening the backyard chicken bylaw, worrying that creating the bylaw would take up staff time better spent working on things like the development permit bylaw.

“Where are our priorities?” the mayor asked.

Coun. Johnston disagreed. “It’s a simple matter,” he said. “A lot of the research has arleady been done.” Johnston suggested cutting and pasting the City of Vancouver’s backyard chicken bylaw, for example, and just using that.

Councillors also touched on bear awareness issues briefly.

In the end, council opted to ask staff to develop a backyard chicken bylaw once more.

In an aside, Mayor David Raven revisited a recurring theme, wrestling openly with the subject of his legacy as mayor.

“I’m looking at my colleagues on the wall here,” the mayor said, gesturing to the Revelstoke City Council chamber wall, from where two rows of portraits of mostly sepia-toned, usually stern, often moustachioed former Revelstoke mayors gaze out over council proceedings. “Their legacy is up there, and I can just see my legacy. On the picture it says, ‘Passed chicken bylaw.'”