Backyard hen supporters will be clucking with joy for the next few months as they work to make an urban hen pilot project a success.
Grande Prairie city council passed a motion to amend the Animals and Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw on Monday night. With further amendments during the meeting, the city will allow up to 15 Livestock Exemption Permits and revisit data after six months of the project. The original motion would have had 10 permits available during a one-year pilot program.
"I thought there was some usefulness in having an entire annual operation of the program to see if there were any seasonal variations or any other significant differences. The majority of the council was supportive of having a review of the data sooner rather than later. City Administration will report back with data after six months," said Mayor Bill Given following the meeting.
Although the data will be checked within six months, He says the trial program could still extend the full year.
"The types of data that would be of interest to the community and to council would be the number of licenses that are applied for, how long people keep those licenses for, whether there are complaints from surrounding properties, if there are any requirements for administration to attend the sites, and those sorts of things," said the mayor.
After hearing the news, the 15 members of the Grande Prairie Urban Hens group that were in attendance were smiling ear-to-ear. Member Rebecka Keyes says this number of permits and time constraint for getting their chickens in a row is very doable.
"I think 15 permits is a great number. It is going to give some accurate data across the entire city. I don't think we have any problem having data available to report on within six months," said Keyes. "Even again in a year (because) everyone in our group is prepared. We look forward to showing the city of Grande Prairie that this is possible."
Another member spoke on the communication it has already started to open in the community as he already has been given a written letter of support from a neighbour.
"It's a great opener to communicate with everyone. It will be a proud moment when we show how successful this can be, even with my boys at school, it will be a real educational piece," said David Braun standing next two his two sons.
Although Braun has his coop ready for operation, there are others that still need to prepare theirs and get their backyards ready to be a home for the birds.
The six months wouldn't start until the program was officially ready to roll out into the community.
Other City Council Highlights:
The pilot bus service project is a go for the 2018 Grande Prairie Stompede. The city will be trying out the service to judge what a future service could look like out for events at Evergreen Park. The organization will have a bus provided for the four-day event as Gift-In-Kind from the city.
City council also made and approved a motion for the mayor to sign a letter of support a for a rural transportation pilot project funded by the province. An application is due at the end of the month. If the Grande Prairie area receives the project funding, the bus service would run as a trial for two years with operational funds coming from the Alberta government. It would connect surrounding communities like Hythe, Clairmont, Sexsmith, Wembley, and Beaverlodge with the city.
The tender for phase three of the Downtown Rehabilitation project was awarded to Wapiti Gravel Suppliers for the amount of $12,015,380.98. The project includes both above and below ground work on 100 Avenue between 100 Street and 102 Street. Construction is set to begin in May and wrap up in the fall.
Councillor Kevin O'Toole was named as the city representative for the Alberta Bilingual Municipalities Association.
Mayor Bill Given gave a proclamation naming March in the city as Children's Wish month.
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