A proposal to allow backyard hens in the village hatched negative results council heard Monday night.
Almost 150 written responses against allowing residents to have backyard chickens were received by the village during a two-month input session finishing at the end of January while just 19 written responses in favour were received.
Weight was put on the written responses opposed to an online poll although that medium also netted high negative responses.
Those opposed in the online were 190 compared to just 70 in favour.
It was noted in the CAO’s report that 10 participants had voted many times in the online poll (up to 420 times from one location).
The duplicate voting was removed from the data presented to council.
“Every single person I met in person was against this,” councillor Jason Wiebe said during the council meeting. “I had people stop me in the street. The public spoke very clearly about what they think should be done.”
Wiebe was a catalyst for bringing the option of a backyard hen bylaw to the public.
He told the Review several months ago that it was something he and his family would like to do and had heard others in the community had an interest in raising their own chickens as well.
During the council meeting Wiebe addressed the Review directly several times stating his appreciation for the public’s input on the issue and that although he had previously stated personal support for the bylaw that he would vote with the public on the matter.
Councillor Arlene Arlow voiced her support for allowing backyard hens and questioned whether the public had received enough information about the issue.
“I think a lot of people were misinformed about the issue and unfortunately took a negative view,” she said.
Councillor Jeremy Evans said he was surprised to hear many neighbouring communities including Penticton and Oliver have backyard chicken bylaws in place.
“Keremeos is a lot more rural and you would think we could get something like that in place here,” he said.
There was a short discussion on whether extending the input session might net different results.
Councillor Sherry Philpott-Adhikary was clear that she didn’t think that would be the case.
“I don’t think if we extend it it will change the residents’ wishes. Those that are down south now are probably not the ones that would be raising the chickens anyways,” she said.
Councillor Wiebe made the motion to instruct the CAO to set aside the issue of backyard hens due to the high percentage of feedback in opposition.
Council unanimously voted in favour of that motion.