Riverdale resident cries fowl

So many people were keeping chickens in their backyards, Kristina Calhoun assumed it was OK. That was until a bylaw officer showed up last week, issued her a warning and told her that she would have to get rid of her flock.

So many people were keeping chickens in their backyards, Kristina Calhoun assumed it was OK.

That was until a bylaw officer showed up last week, issued her a warning and told her that she would have to get rid of her flock.

Calhoun had been living outside of town and keeping chickens on her property for the past few years.

When she moved to Riverdale last year, she set up a coop in her backyard.

Neighbours gave her conflicting reports about the legality of keeping chickens. Some told her it was OK, others told her it wasn’t.

“A lot of people in Riverdale have them so I thought it must be fine, otherwise people wouldn’t have them,” she said. “In retrospect, I should have taken the time to call the city.”

There are some neighbourhoods in Whitehorse where it is legal to keep chickens in a backyard, but Riverdale isn’t one of them.

“Right now the animal control bylaw specifically prohibits poultry except in country residential zones,” said Mike Gau, the city’s planning and development manager.

When the Official Community Plan was adopted a few years ago, there was a lot of support for the idea of urban chickens, he said.

“The city wants to encourage local food production,” said Gau. “It’s one of our objectives in the OCP and the sustainability plan and chickens are definitely part of that.

“That doesn’t mean that it will be allowed everywhere, because sometimes it’s not appropriate.”

Though the city is in support of the idea, making it legal will mean changing both zoning and the animal control bylaws.

City planners are currently working on a major bylaw rewrite, and urban chickens are something that it’s considering, sad Gau.

“We hope to have a draft bylaw before council in December,” he said.

In the meantime, Calhoun will be appearing before city council on Tuesday to make sure that the issue gets a hearing.

She was told that she only had two weeks to get rid of her chickens.

Her hope is that council will grant a reprieve for all the people that are violating the bylaw but may not know it.

“I’ve put quite a bit of money into my flock and I don’t want to get rid of them at this point if two months from now they’re going to pass the bylaw,” said Calhoun. “For me it comes down to access to healthy food. I know what’s gone into it and I know where my food has come from.”

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (yfned.ca)
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read