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Maple Ridge resident wants backyard chickens

Maple Ridge resident Marléne Ducharme would like to keep chickens in her backyard. - Colleen Flanagan/The News
Maple Ridge resident Marléne Ducharme would like to keep chickens in her backyard.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

It's time Maple Ridge joined other Metro Vancouver municipalities and allowed people to raise chickens and enjoy eggs laid in their backyards, says a council watcher and former candidate.

Maple Ridge could do so with minimal fuss and effort by copying the good work other municipalities already have done, says Tyler Ducharme.

"There's no need to create more bureaucracy around this. We've got a lot of municipalities who are well on their way to getting this done."

Ducharme wants Maple Ridge to adopt similar bylaws as Vancouver, Saanich, Victoria, Esquimalt and Prince Rupert, which allow people to keep four laying hens in their backyards, excluding the noisy roosters.

"We grow a lot of our own food," says Ducharme, whose home has a healthy, garden.

Raising chickens and producing your own eggs "does bring you back into the whole thought process of where does my food come from."

Each bird produces one or two eggs every few days, meaning four chickens could lay about a dozen in a week.

He wonders about the actual process that led to outlawing the raising chickens in city settings.

Ducharme is collecting names on his web petition (righttoeggs.com) and wants to make a pitch to Maple Ridge council to create a clearly worded bylaw allowing backyard chickens, once he gathers 300 names.

But even if he's not successful in collecting that many, he still plans on approaching council. Currently people in Maple Ridge can only raise hens on properties that are five acres or more. He wants hens allowed on any single family lot.

"Throughout Canada, and within B.C. and the GVRD region, some citizens are allocated the right to raise backyard chickens to feed their families – so why not Maple Ridge citizens?" he asks on his website.

"There is no logical reason that Maple Ridge residents should be denied this right to raise food to feed their families."

So far, during the few months that Vancouver has allowed chickens, there have been no complaints, particularly about people abandoning the birds, he pointed out.

Coun. Corisa Bell says the idea is worth considering. "Initially, it would seem like it would make sense." But more information is needed, she added.

Ducharme said that normal bylaw enforcement should take care of noise or odor problems, adding that most people who invest in chickens for producing food will take care of them.

Ducharme pointed out that Vancouver has less room per lot than Maple Ridge, while Cowichan legalized backyard chickens in a matter of months.

Parksville is also considering a similar bylaw.

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