There are many chickens in the backyards of Cumberland, and have been for many years. Whilst not strictly legal, a blind eye has been turned whilst towns and cities all over the world have caught up to what Cumberland has known for so long - backyard chickens have many benefits and few issues.
But the blind eye is being opened, and enforcement of Cumberland's animal bylaw is now beginning to happen. If you are one of Cumberland's quiet chicken keepers, you need to come speak at the Village Hall meeting on May 6th, otherwise there is the ever increasing chance that death may come a-knocking for those chickens.
Council has a petition with over 400 signatures supporting chickens on village lots. However, the other side of the argument is embodied in a staff report that firmly recommends against chickens. This website feels strongly that chickens are a welcome addition to backyards and that the Village's report needs to be looked at carefully and challenged on the basis of the available evidence.
The Village report can be read here and concludes:
"Though there are a few notable benefits to allowing backyard chickens, the risk of conflict from dangerous animals, health issues, enforcement issues and nuisance complaints seem to outweigh these advantages. Cities that allow for chickens do not allow them on smaller lots."
There are now many examples of cities worldwide that allow chickens. A survey of these is useful for understanding how they have dealt with the issues raised, but what really needs to be considered is an example of a small village with nearby predator habitat, as arguments about bears and cougars are less relevant in large downtowns. The best example is probably Rossland, BC, a city in the Kootenay Region with about 3,500 residents, which allowed chickens in 2011 and now has an active backyard chicken community sharing knowledge and understanding (and doubtless sharing eggs too). Our nearby neighbour Gibsons, BC, allows chickens and has no bylaws relating to them. It is a non-issue. Nanaimo has allowed them since 2010.