Backyard hens need a chance
Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 02:18 pm
Black Diamond council did the right thing to not jump into a pilot project to allow residents to raise hens in their backyards for now, but it should go ahead with the idea to settle the debate once and for all.
Councillors voted on April 16 not to proceed with a proposed test of allowing urban hens to collaborate with their counterparts in Turner Valley on a pilot project. It isn’t a straight out “No” for now, but it definitely puts the project on hold and this is not a bad thing.
It could be a positive move to take the time to plan a pilot project in Black Diamond and Turner Valley appropriately.
However, the communities should still hold a test run for raising hens in backyards.
The debate over backyard hens has ruffled feathers in Black Diamond and Turner Valley since the proposal first went before both town councils in January.
Many residents feel more questions need to be answered before either town considers pursuing the proposed project.
Reactions have been mixed, but the idea has some support.
An on-line survey done by the Town of Black Diamond showed 58 per cent of respondents supported the idea, with the rest opposed. The Town of Turner Valley survey results showed 72 per cent of those surveyed support the initiative and 23 per cent don’t. Five per cent were undecided.
Supporters argue the animals provide people a healthy source of chemical-free food right in their own backyards. They also say having food supplied at home is a valuable education for their children.
A number of concerns have also been raised in recent months, including noise, odour, sanitation, attracting predators, enforcement of rules and what happens when the animals stop laying eggs.
They’re all valid points, but many of the same arguments can realistically be made against dogs. They can be just as noisy and smelly as a coop full of clucking hens. Ultimately, whether or not a pet becomes a nuisance to neighbors depends heavily on their owners.
A pilot project will help to settle the issue once and for all. It will also ensure that whatever decision is made will be the right one. It could also serve as a guide for other foothills communities.
It will take time to get the details of a pilot project right, but the councils and administration in Black Diamond and Turner Valley should give it a chance.