In a significant move, the Town of Maple Creek held its first reading of the proposed Urban Hens Pilot Program Bylaw during its council meeting late last month.
The bylaw, designed to address the desires of residents who wish to keep hens in their backyards, aims to provide a framework for this initiative.
The proposal, introduced as a pilot project, will offer residents a two-year window to explore the possibilities of keeping hens within the community.
Barry Elliott, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the Town of Maple Creek, explained that this pilot project will serve as an opportunity for the community to test the waters and assess the program's impact.
“The town has been approached by a number of individual residents who would like to have hens in their backyard, I gather mostly for egg production,” he explained. “Our current bylaw doesn't speak to that. As a result, we've done a fair bit of research with other communities in order to see what they're doing with urban hens, et cetera.
While the bylaw has passed its first reading, the council has chosen to delay the second and third readings to provide residents with an opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns.
Elliott also emphasized the importance of public engagement during the two-year duration of the pilot program.
“During that period of time, there would be a review of how it's being received in the community, how things are going, and then the intent would be at that point, to have counsel give thought to a longer-term option within what was presented to council already,” he explained.
Residents, whether in favour or against the proposed program, are encouraged to review the bylaw and submit their comments and concerns to Elliot. Public input will be summarized and presented to the council at its meeting on September 27.
Elliott remained neutral regarding the town's stance on the issue, stating that the council is genuinely interested in hearing from the public before making any judgments.
“There's certainly an interest around the Council table in listening to the public,” he stated. “They're interested in seeing what the public has to say. The council has had an opportunity to discuss this for a little while now and the fact that we moved the bylaw forward, should tell everyone that they are certainly listening to people's interests and concerns and wanting to make sure they make the right decision.”
For those interested in learning more about the proposed bylaw and its requirements, a copy of the bylaw can be found HERE.
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