It was a full house at City Council Chambers on Monday night as the Urban Hen pilot project was a topic of discussion.
Three people voiced their opposition to having the animals on city properties. All three residents were wary of the noise, mess, and depreciating the value of property in the neighbourhoods the birds would be located. Concerned resident Susan Schneider told Council that the Animal Bylaw Amendment would “open the city for pigs and goats” and would stretch bylaw enforcement officers to their limit.
Five people, all part of the Grande Prairie Urban Hens group, voiced their passion for trying the backyard chicken coops.
On top of opening communication with neighbours, supporters spoke on training and education as well as waste produced and the noise levels.
Supporter Alan Tibbles said a chicken clucking reaches a noise level of 60 decibels while a dog barking can reach up to 90 decibels. He also spoke on the waste produced which is approximately 1 ounce per day per chicken.
Thirteen-year-old Cameron Braun told council the benefits of having a chicken coop for youth. He said kids his age should learn responsibility because they are “always on video games (and) it is important for kids to learn where eggs come from”.
Although the motion almost made it to the third reading, a vote from Councillor Yadvinder Minhas against the third reading had the motion moved to the next city council meeting on March 26, 2018. If council votes to support the motion, they would be able to debate the number of permits available to the public.
Right now, if passed as is at the next meeting, a one-year pilot project would take place in Grande Prairie with up to 10 Livestock Exemption Permits issued.
Other Council Highlights:
The topic of oversaturation of liquor stores in the city was presented at council Monday. Rather than presenting the proximity and number of these style of stores to Councillors like in past presentations, resident Andrew Cho made an argument for the amount of corporate-owned liquor stores.
Cho said, “it’s affecting how we make a living here in town” and was looking for the city to look at regulating these type of booze establishments.
Councillor Dylan Bressey made a motion to look into the issue, but none of the other Councillors were on the same page. Instead, council accepted the delegation from Cho as information.
Large-scale Tourism Funding was a topic of discussion with council moving to give up to 25 per cent of the funding available to one applicant. They also said an applicant would have to have 35 per cent of their attendees from within 100 kilometres of Grande Prairie.
The City will be hosting the North American Francophone and Francophile Cities Network. Councillor Jackie Clayton said it would be a great opportunity as the latest one was held in Louisiana, United States. The budget for the event is $44,000.
Council also moved to join the Alberta Bilingual Municipalities Association and will look at appointing a council member to become a voting member in the future.
The Grande Spirit Foundation was looking for the promise of at least 5-acres of land from the city to lock down more money from funders. Space would allow for 90 to 120 more units. The area promised isn’t locked into place and can be looked at in the future.
Councillor Blackburn presented the Arts Development Committee Meeting minutes with interest from a group to host eco-garden parties in four neighbourhood parks in the city among other presentations.
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