City studies backyard livestock
Within two years, Gatineau will approve a small-scale urban livestock project to evaluate the feasibility of allowing beehives and keeping chickens by city residents.
Currently, a handful of Aylmer residents, all within Gatineau’s urban perimeter, already keep chickens on their property. This activity is unauthorized, but the city turns a blind eye if there are no complaints. In 2014, one Aylmer resident was fined for keeping chickens on his property after a neighbour complained.
Problems cited included odour, flies, and vermin attracted by the chickens. The neighbour told the Bulletin the odour and flies prevented her from enjoying a coffee outside.
These will be the city’s concerns with the 2017 pilot project, as well as the type and number of animals to be allowed and each property’s dimensions.
The city says its issues are public health, animal welfare, environmental protection, good neighbour policy and the management and monitoring of any complaints.
This project proposal follows a public consultation with about 555 individuals or groups. Close to 85% of participants favoured small-scale livestock rearing; 15% raised red flags about such an initiative.
Respondents also detailed suggestions: prohibit roosters, set maximum numbers, require permits, enforce mandatory training, and so on. The public consultation report includes suggestions that the city consider approving small-scale communal farms, and others argued that too much red tape would kill the project. Gatineau will present a proposal by the fall of 2016.