No eggs will be laid in Saskatoon backyards anytime soon.
The city planning committee voted 3-3 for an administration study on a proposed pilot project for urban chickens Monday. The tie leaves the project off city council’s agenda.
“We were disappointed because we thought we put together a robust proposal,” said Wanda Martin, a researcher with Saskatoon Bridge City Chickens.
Martin said she wasn’t surprised by the outcome of the vote, given attitudes she’s experienced toward chickens in the city.
“It demonstrates Saskatoon isn’t interested in being a world-class city,” she said.
“There are still people on the council who don’t want to look at what other cities are doing and moving forward.”
Martin said chickens are less of a nuisance than cats or dogs.
“Chickens don’t bark and I’m always shooing cats out of my yard,” she said.
Martin and her group plan to wait six months and come back to the committee with another proposal, following a city-wide survey.
Councillors Darren Hill, Troy Davies and Bev Dubois voted against the motion. They were concerned about spending time and money on the study for the pilot project.
“Growing up with chickens, I know how they can go a little sideways,” said Davies during the committee meeting.
“I just don’t know how we can police this because we can’t even police people who have weeds in their yards.”
Mayor Charlie Clark, Deputy Mayor Hilary Gough and Coun. Zach Jeffries voted for the city study.
They asked for an 18-month pilot program, which would involve 30 households in areas where nine community associations have shown support such as Riversdale, King George, Holliston, Hudson Bay Park, Mayfair and Kelsey Woodlawn.
This isn’t the first time Saskatoon city council has heard this kind of pitch – in 2010, council voted down a request to allow urban hens.
– With files from 650 CKOM’s Chris Carr.