The Chicken-in-the-back Yard Debate
To cluck or not to cluck is the question gripping the residents of St.Catharines -including the residents of the Merritton Ward. I want to involve the residents of the Merritton Area and hear their opinions on the issue. I will include the position that I currently hold, but I want to hear from both sides on this issue. So far, I have hear from only the "against" side of the debate. Email me at email@example.com or check my facebook group "Elect David Haywood Merritton Ward Councillor" on the discussion board and send or post your side. One of the main priorities of my campaign is to engage the public more on city issues AND the decisions that are made to rectify these issues. Here is what I have received to date concerning the issue:
The first email:
My name is #$!@ #$#@!, my family lives in the Merritton ward. I received one of your flyers at the parade today. I would like to know what your stance is on the backyard chicken debate.
There is a new by-law being drafted by city council and I'm being told it will be brought up again sometime in November. By that time, if you are elected you will be on that council and have a vote in this matter. Can you let me know if you are for or against the idea of allowing St. Catharines residents to have chickens in their backyards.
I thank you for your time. I do understand your concerns. I promise not to use your name. I think it is important to have respectful debate without resorting to personal attacks. Positions need to be tested and examined carefully with an open mind.
I have talked to family members and I have read the articles in the Standard regarding this issue. My family just mentioned is against the issue because of the possibility for people to abuse the by-law. Sanitary issues were also raised. However, I will be honest - I think having chickens (a limited number between 2 or 3) could be beneficial IF PROPERLY taken care of. I do think that the issue needs a closer look. Maybe, there are valid concerns that out-weigh the benefits. Everyone deserves a chance to have their opinions heard - in a respectful environment, free from any personal attacks! This is one of the major goals of my campaign, to have residents more involved in local issues. I have spent the majority of my life in Merritton, living in the house I grew up in (bought from my parents in 2005). I hope that you understand that I only want the best for the area - even if we sometimes are not on the same page with every issue.
The second email I received:
As a long time resident of St. Catharines I am sending this email on behalf of the dozens of neighbors I've spoken to regarding this matter, which is of great concern to us. We are in shock and disbelief that City Council is considering passing a bylaw that allows residents to farm chickens in residential areas.
We think that this is a horrendous idea for the following reasons. Backyard Chickens:
- present public health and hygiene concerns for urban residents, especially young children, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and people with breathing issues like asthma;
- take business away from local farmers;- attract pests such as rats, mice, raccoons, skunks and coyotes - create friction amongst neighbours due to the presence of noxious odors and noise;- limit the enjoyment of neighbours of their own backyards;
- could result in new burdens, costs and challenges for the Lincoln County Humane Society and,- create a new licensing and bylaw enforcement burden for the city which will not be covered by increased revenue.
- feces increase garbage/recycling, creating an issue with garbage disposal costs and number of allowed bags per family.
- No relevant long term studies have been conducted as to the effects urban chickens will have in St. Catharines, particularly where coyotes and the environment (particularly chicken feces and soil, should people attempt to create fertilizer) are concerned.
We believe that chickens belong on farms, NOT in the backyards of residential properties within city limits. As possible ward councillors, we strongly urge you fully examine our concerns and to take into consideration the consequences that such a bylaw change could have.
My name is David Haywood. I running in the Merritton Ward during the up-coming elections. I am encouraging residents to debate this issue. Could I post you name and concerns on my websites concerning the chicken issue. I will post it exactly as you sent it to me. I promise, I can remove just your name if you like. I really want to engage the public and have them more involved in city issues.
Merritton Ward Candidate.
Lastly, her reply:
Hello Mr. Haywood,Thank you for your prompt response to my email. Yes, you may use my letter but I'd prefer it if you'd leave out my name. Individuals who are a part of the pro chicken group have been increasingly aggressive and are not above personal attacks, so I'd prefer to limit the harassment as much as possible.Part of my main goal is to make the public aware of this issue, whether they're for or against the bylaw change, so I welcome a debate.You may also be interested in visiting this web page or facebook group (its a public group so you do not need to be a member to view it, only to make comments):http://www.nobackyardchickens.com/ or Oppose new by-law for back yard chickens
I encourage anyone on the "for" side to respond. This issue needs to be debated by both sides of the coin. So far, the "against" side has made some very interesting and relevant points to the issue. Please keep checking this site. I will post parts of my platform, with more detail, in the coming weeks. I will add the posts from other residents concerning this issue.
Merritton Ward Candidate.