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Backyard fowl fight comes home to roost

<p>Chickens are coming home to roost at Peninsula Community Council next week. </p>

Chickens are coming home to roost at Peninsula Community Council next week.

Halifax drew national attention last February when Edinburgh Street resident Louise Hanavan was told her backyard fowl had to go.

City staff have been working on a report since then and councillors Jennifer Watts, Dawn Sloane, Jerry Blumenthal and Sue Uteck will examine it Monday night.

Hanavan is discouraged that the report recommends no action due to what it calls a lack of public interest.

“There were 1,000 signatures on that petition (gathered last year),” Hanavan said yesterday She added many people want chickens for green reasons: To shrink their carbon footprint and to save money.

“Especially in hard economic times, it makes sense to know you have that source of food.”

The original complaint stemmed from a fear that chicken feed attracted rats. Hanavan’s chickens are long gone, but the vermin aren’t. “I can say that a year later, there are still rats in our neighbourhood.”

Jennifer Watts, councillor for Connaught-Quinpool, supports “urban agriculture” in the form of community gardens and is open to discuss backyard chickens.

“I’ve had several people contact me about their interest in having a bylaw that would support (backyard chickens) … and I’ve also had people definitely approach me to say they’re not in favour,” Watts said.

The Ecology Action Centre is urging change.

“Producing one’s own food improves quality of life, as it brings a sense of abundance, self-sufficiency and connection to the land,” said Nicole Arsenault. “It is very disappointing that this type of productive urban land use, especially on such a small scale, is being so actively discouraged by the city.”

 
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