By Craig Westcott/December 23, 2021
CBS councillors had animal husbandry on their minds Tuesday as they were asked to vote on three more hobby farms in the town.
The issue arose during the presentation of the planning and development committee report by the group’s chairman, councilor-at-large Rex Hillier.
The first application came from a resident wanting to keep a maximum of six chickens and one pig at 55-57 Cluney’s Road in Kelligrews.
The second application was for a hobby farm containing nine chickens and one cow at 500 Conception Bay Highway in Foxtrap.
The third application, for 375 Foxtrap Access Road, was for a permit to keep a maximum of 12 hens and three goats.
All three applications were approved.
The latter application, Hillier noted, was slightly different than the notice that was published for public comment. “In the initial one, there was a pig included,” he said. “In fact, in the original application, the applicant asked to have a pig. We felt it would have been too much for that particular property at this point in time. So, we chose not to approve the pig.”
Hillier said hobby farms seem to be getting more popular.
“It’s something that we’ve struggled with over the last months,” Hillier admitted. “I know councilor (Josh) Barrett spent last weekend going up and down the shore dropping in on all of the applicants. There are a bunch of things we try to take into account. First of all, when does a hobby farm stop being a hobby farm and become a commercial farm? The word ‘hobby’ is there for a reason.”
That’s where factors such as the size of the lot, the area available for the animals, proximity to neighbours and the numbers of animals requested all have to be considered, Hillier explained. “We’ve dealt with three (applications) here tonight and they’re all different sized lots, requesting all different numbers of animals, and those are things that we’ve juggled,” said Hillier. “And I guess in our mutual wisdom – and we’ve got councilor Paul Connors there who has a background in agriculture – these are the motions we’ve brought forward tonight. But it’s becoming more and more prevalent in our town. And that’s fine. Conception Bay South has been known as an agricultural town forever, and it’s great to see that in some manner this is being continued.”
Mayor Darrin Bent agreed with that view.
“Farming is on our coat of arms, Councilor Hillier, and it’s good to hear of councilor Barrett out counting sheep and pigs and goats and whatever else,” Bent said, good naturedly. “It’s something that our residents want. It’s also something that we need to sort to some degree in a way that makes sense for all of us, and I know we’re going to do a lot of work on this over the winter and into the spring.”