By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: March. 10, 2012
Mark and Brady Willmots have relented, but not without putting up a fight against what they believe is an unjust bylaw.
A few weeks ago, Squamish Reporter had written about Mark and Brandy Willmot, and their ‘pets’: A pygmie goat named Elliot, and four chickens named Weesey, Maloona, Sunny, and Jobe.
The bylaw officers had asked them to remove the chicken and the goat as they were considered livestock, not pets, according to the district’s bylaw.
The Willmots had removed the goat, but were adamant on keeping the chickens.
Now, they have another letter from the bylaw, politely but firmly telling them what they must do by March 27.
“While I can appreciate the sentiment about your chickens and goats, and that it was difficult for your family to give up the goat, I must remind you that both these animal species are considered livestock, not pets,” the bylaw officer wrote.
Get rid of the chickens or pay the $200 per day fine. Mark Willmot says he will do the former.
The family will loan the chicken to Mark’s brother-in-law who lives on property zoned agriculture.
“But if changes are made I will promptly bring them back,” Mark Willmot said.
The compliance isn’t because of the fines alone.
The principle on which they were fighting has also found an echo in the council chambers.
With Doug Race and Ron Sander opposed, Squamish council voted to ask staff to bring back a report outlining policy and bylaw implications and cost associated with the keeping of chickens in residential neighborhoods.
The council, however, did not set a deadline on when the staff should bring back the report.
At least four councillors said it was time Squamish had a progressive food policy that would allow for backyard chickens.
Coun. Bryan Raiser also asked for pygmy goats and bees to be included in the impending staff report.
“I would like to see more community debate on this,” Raiser said.
Coun. Race, however, said the bylaw is enforced for a good reason, as chickens are a bear attractant.