The chickens have not come home to roost in the Dupuis family’s backyard.
The family applied to join the city’s urban hen program last May and spent the summer constructing a coop. But Andrea Dupuis said Friday they’re still on a waiting list, and that it will likely be quite some time before there’s room in the program.
“It’s kind of disheartening,” she said.
The urban hen program is capped at 50 sites across the city, and there are currently 12 applicants on the waiting list, spokeswoman Carol Hurst said Friday. Hurst said the city is aware of other people who want coops but who have opted not to put their names on the list.
The city launched the initial pilot project, allowing 19 sites, in 2014. Pilot extensions over the years allowed for an increase.
Dupuis said she knows people who have cancelled their application after waiting for two years.
“They just have cancelled because they don’t want to wait any longer. So that kind of sucks,” she said.
Dupuis is hopeful the cap could be removed or increased, and she contacted her councillor, Ward 4 Coun. Aaron Paquette, with her concerns.
Paquette raised the issue during a council meeting in December, and said in a message Thursday that the trouble lies with limited animal control staff resources to put toward oversight of the program. But he said he’s heard from people in his ward who have made all the investments and are ready to go, but are stuck on the wait list.
Ward 8 Coun. Ben Henderson made the motion that was approved, which directed administration to report back on how the program is going and the feasibility of getting rid of the cap.
“I think that probably was a wise way to go at the beginning, but it has been such a non-issue,” said Henderson. “I’m not sure the cap is necessary anymore. To my knowledge, there’s been no problems with it whatsoever.”
Some aspiring hen farmers, like Chantell Thom, are OK with the wait.
Thom added her name to the list last September.
“I knew it was probably going to be a year or two before we get our chickens,” she said.
She was the 12th person on the list when she signed up, and she said that’s fine because it gives her time to properly prepare for the hens.
While they wait, she and her husband are planning to construct a coop using upcycled materials, like pallets and signs from the upcoming provincial election.
“I’m actually very, very happy to have the time,” she said.
Still, some in the chicken community said there are people who tired of waiting and are now raising illicit backyard broods.
“I do know that some people are going ahead and raising them without a licence because there’s such a wait for them,” said Diane Allison, who snagged a coveted spot in the hen program back in 2017.
Allison has since signed up to mentor a family on the waiting list, and has been trying to raise awareness about the program in her neighbourhood and around the city. She said keeping hens in the city is rewarding and sustainable, and that over time she thinks an evolution over time will simplify the process.
“As the city gets more comfortable with the program, and people understand the guidelines, it will be less of a resource burden, because they just won’t need to check as much,” she said.
Note from WSOE.Org : This content has been auto-generated from a syndicated feed.