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Agriculture bylaw kiboshed
Committee decides to hold off on legislation until 2017 general plan

April Hudson
Northern News Services
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A controversial bylaw that would have placed strict limitations on the types of animals residential property owners could own in Fort Simpson will be coming back to the council table to be defeated.

During a Nov. 1 community development committee meeting, committee members agreed the issue would be best addressed in the village's general plan, which has a completion target of 2017.

Present at the meeting were Mayor Darlene Sibbeston, Coun. Charles Blyth who chaired the meeting, Coun. Sean Whelly, Coun. Muaz Hassan and Coun. Michael Rowe, as well as members of the administration. According to approved minutes of that meeting, Sibbeston withdrew her support of the bylaw, stating her main concern had been chickens and she no longer felt it was a large enough issue to move forward with at that time.

The decision comes after a public hearing on the bylaw took place in October.

During that hearing, many residents spoke against the bylaw, arguing other municipalities such as Yellowknife allow animals, including chickens. Some argued being able to raise and harvest animals can be cheaper.

During the Nov. 1 committee meeting, Rowe characterized the public hearing as an "eye-opener," according to the minutes, but stated he believes there should at least be regulations in place to make sure chickens are kept humanely.

Blyth, who had previously argued the bylaw's "permissive wording" did not include an allowance for agriculture, re-iterated that argument but added the "discretionary use" allowance in the zoning bylaw could be enforced on a case-by-case basis.

Committee members agreed to recommend defeating the bylaw once it comes back to the regular council table.

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