Amend bylaws in Cornwall, PE, to allow backyard hens and miniature goats for food security

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Cornwall's current residential zoning bylaws prohibit the keeping of any and all livestock.  However, according to its official plan, released in 2014, a blend of urban and rural values is intrinsic to the town's heritage and identity.  The statements below are excerpts from the Town of Cornwall Official Plan:

  • "The Town of Cornwall is a unique community. While most communities are dominated by either urban land uses and urban values, or agricultural land uses and rural values, Cornwall reflects a unique melding of these two influences."
  • "...there is an overall indication from Cornwall’s residents that they support agriculture and value the rural character of the Town."
  • "...there appears to be a balance of rural and urban interest in Cornwall which is at the heart for the Town’s character and identity. As the Town progresses, Council must be sensitive to maintaining this delicate balance of interests."

Despite these statements, in the fall of 2015, Cornwall town council voted 5:1 to reject the request of a formal application for an amendment to the current zoning bylaws, which would have allowed the keeping of small flocks of egg-laying hens and female miniature goats on residential properties.  The application was submitted by a local resident on March 5th, 2015, supported by thorough research into the subject and two formal presentations to the town Planning Board and Council.  It was rejected on October 21st, 2015.

With the low Canadian dollar, skyrocketing food prices, and increasing food recalls due to contamination, many Canadians are becoming increasingly concerned about food security, affordability, and safety.  Climate change, environmental degradation, and the ability to promote local agriculture are also inherently important issues to a small and vulnerable island where agriculture has been a way of life for centuries.  Many young families understand that our current model of food production and distribution is unsustainable, and would like to have the independence to choose the source of the food for their growing children, and in some cases, raise it themselves.  Growing vegetables, gathering eggs from backyard hens, and producing milk from goats that are simultaneously personable family pets allows families to save money, choose more sustainable food options, educate their children, provide healthier meals and improve their overall physical and mental health.

We, the undersigned, believe that Cornwall Town Council must find a way to balance the needs and requests of all town residents, creating a healthy town that combines modern values with a respect for our agricultural heritage and the rights of families to provide for their loved ones in a way that respects and values animal welfare and neighbours.  In this way, we can create a stronger, more vibrant, and more resilient community.

 



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