If Prince Albert residents have ever wanted a backyard chicken coop or bee hives, they might get their wish.
The City of Prince Albert is reviewing its zoning bylaws, which would open the door for urban agriculture.
John Guenther, director of planning and development, said some interest in the concept was raised during community plan sessions to address food security within urban areas.
Guenther has some experience with this issue, having previously worked in British Columbia.
“We adopted them in Houston, B.C. which is a small town back two years ago and we changed our bylaws with a fair bit of public outreach. So it’s not a new thing, and I think it’s very easily managed,” he said.
The issue was brought to the forefront this week when a Prince Albert woman was forced to give up her chickens due to zoning restrictions.
Currently, only homeowners in the agriculture designated areas can own chickens. Those areas are located south of the North Saskatchewan River, on the outskirts of Prince Albert.
Guenther said when the zoning bylaw was changed in Houston, they also had to review their animal control bylaw to ensure chickens would be used for egg-laying only, and not butchering. They also had to discuss housing requirements and placed a limit on how many chickens a homeowner could own.
Roosters were also prohibited due to noise concerns.
“A lot of people think too that the chickens will be everywhere, but that’s not what happens,” he said.
“What ends up happening is you get them dispersed throughout the city and some people use them, some people don’t.”
City manager Jim Toye said the goal is to have a public open house in May.
“We do understand that there are some municipalities who are starting to allow chickens. That will be something that could be discussed after the new zoning bylaw comes forward,” Toye said.
He said the ultimate decision would rest with city council to decide if the bylaw change would be for the betterment of the whole community.