Allow backyard chickens and bees on all residential lots on the Sunshine Coast.

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As local food security is a growing concern, we request that the Zoning By-laws and the Animal Control By-law be amended as soon as possible to provide regulations for the humane and sanitary keeping of 4-6 backyard hens and bees per household.  We ask that all bylaw infractions involving the keeping of backyard hens be placed on hold until the amended bylaws are in effect.  

Food insecurity is a public health concern because it affects a household’s ability to afford nutritious food which in turn influences both the physical and mental health of our residents. In order to assist the development of a just and sustainable food system that fosters equitable access to healthy food, we recommend that bees and 4-6 hens (no roosters), per single family residential lot be allowed on all electoral areas on the Sunshine Coast.  

According to the Sunshine Coast Agricultural Area Plan, we grow less than 3% of our food supply.  And, in an emergency, our community only has enough food on hand for two or three days.  As we are witnessing during the Covid-19 crisis, eggs are one of the items that are in high demand and sell out quickly.  This is entirely avoidable if we allow backyard hens.  One hen lays approximately 4 eggs per week. Allowing 4-6 hens per household will be one of the most direct and effective ways to achieve a viable coastal food system accessible to all, regardless of household income.  

We support a robust local food system that includes the ethical & responsible raising of egg laying hens and bees. By providing eggs for our residents and fertilizer for our gardens, backyard hens contribute a healthy meal, while turning food waste into compost.  Bees provide critical pollination at a time of unprecedented decline and of course, honey.  The addition of hens and bees to more households will greatly reduce the Sunshine Coast's overall carbon footprint.

Many neighbouring communities, such as Vancouver, North Vancouver, Surrey and Squamish have existing backyard hen bylaws that permit between 4-6 hens. 

From the Sunshine Coast Food Security Initiative Report, “Community food security exists when all citizens obtain a safe, personally acceptable, nutritious diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes healthy choices, community self-reliance and equal access for everyone”. (Adopted from Bellows and Hamm 2003).

Thank you for your time and consideration.