Orillia extends backyard hens pilot another four years

Orillia residents will be able to keep their backyard hens for at least another four years. The City of Orillia is extending its pilot project for the keeping of backyard hens on certain properties until June 5, 2023. 

"Extending the backyard hens pilot project another four years will hopefully encourage more residents to take part in the opportunity so that Council can further evaluate whether to make the program permanent," said Mayor Steve Clarke. "The initial two-year pilot resulted in only four hen coop licences being issued and Council agreed that more participants and time was needed to make a final decision."

The pilot project allows for a total of 12 hen coop licences throughout the City. With only four hen coops licences currently issued, eight licences are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

In addition, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is developing educational programs for those wishing to keep urban chickens and for small-animal veterinarians. It is anticipated that these programs will be fully developed by the end of the extended four-year pilot project, at which time these resources will be available in Orillia.

The regulations for the extended pilot project remain the same. A hen coop may be located on a property that is zoned Rural (RU), Residential (R1, R2, R3, R4), Open Space One and Two (OS1, OS2). The property must be at least 500 sq. m. (approx. 5382 sq. ft.) in area to support a hen coop. No hen coop is permitted unless a valid licence has been issued by the City under the Hen Coop Licensing By-law. There is a one-time licensing fee of $100.

The original pilot project was initiated in response to requests by residents and in the interest of encouraging local food production. The original pilot began on June 5, 2017 and will expire on June 5, 2019.  The extended pilot will expire on June 5, 2023.

For more information visit the City's website at orillia.ca/backyardhens or contact the Legislative Services Division at 705-325-2313.

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