Woodstock Municipal Council deals with chickens, paving, and updates at Sept. 26 council meeting

by | Oct 3, 2023

Council to review chicken bylaws

Woodstock Municipal Council agreed to have town staff review bylaws about raising chickens in residential areas in response to a resident’s letter.

The letter from a St. James Street resident complained about her neighbour’s chicken coop located against the fence and hedge dividing the two properties.

“I wrote a letter to the town in early summer regarding the stench from a neighbour’s chicken coop but have not heard as to what the town has done about it,” the resident explained in the letter.

According to the letter and confirmed by Mayor Trina Jones, the town’s compliance officer visited the neighbour raising the chickens, finding they complied with the town bylaw.

The lengthy letter raised several issues, including potential health hazards, asking if the town studied the issue in depth before instituting its current bylaw.

Council discussion determined the town’s current bylaw dates to 2020, adding the town closely aligned it with similar bylaws in other communities.

Coun. Christa McCartney said that while the compliance officer ruled that the chicken owners complied with the regulations, it didn’t match up to the neighbour’s complaints.

While the letter described the chicken coop pushed up against the fence and hedge separating the property, McCartney noted any such structure must be a minimum of two metres from a neighbour’s property line.

Council also heard that the bylaw states that anyone wanting to raise chickens in an urban area must comply with all regulations and have pre-approval from the town.

Coun. Will Belyea questioned the wisdom of raising chickens in a dense residential setting.

“Does it make a lot of sense to have chickens in that area,” he asked.

Belyea also wants more details surrounding the “turnaround time’ for the compliance officer.

Council agreed to hold any further discussion on the issue until after it hears from town staff at a future committee-in-council meeting.

Houlton Street remains the target of the revamped designated highway plan

Woodstock Planning and Development Director Andrew Garnett provided the council with an update on the ever-changing provincially designated highway program.

He explained the completion of Houlton Street, from Charlotte to Main, is the next targeted designated highway project.

Garnett explained the program, renamed the Provincial-Municipal Highway Partnership, underwent several changes over the past few years.

He said municipalities once had to submit five-year plans, which could be updated annually. He said the province switched to a three-year plan two years ago, making it easier for the province to budget.

Now, Garnett said, the province changed the process to a four-year plan.

Despite the process changes, Garnett sought council approval to keep the Houlton Street upgrades at the forefront of the town’s subsequent application to the province.

He explained the upgrade would include paving, curb and gutter from Charlotte Street to Main Street. He added the work would consist of a new sidewalk along one side of the street, which the town must pay for on its own.

Garnett said the province would pay $675,000 while the town would be on the hook for $225,000. He said the town would also need to cover an additional $225,000, which is not eligible under the plan.

Garnett explained that the budgeted costs can soon become outdated, with prices rising quickly.

Mayor Jones noted council could agree to the project but stretch the plan over two years if they believe the town budget can’t handle its share of the costs in a single year.

A ‘good year’ for building permits

Garnett’s building permit update said Woodstock enjoyed a “good year’ in building permits, with more than $15.6 million in applications.

“And there are still large developments which have happened yet,” he told council.

Town square upgrade nearing completion

Completion of the long-running enhancement of the Woodstock Town Square is “steadily getting there,” said Garnett.

During the Sept. 26 meeting, Garnett explained that the tree grates are in place, light poles are erected, and contractors are set to install the pavers.

Garnett asked council to approve the return of an investment removed from the project as part of the cutbacks instituted to reduce the project’s costs before work began this summer.

“One of the cutbacks was to hold off on sidewalks,” Garnett said.

He explained the decision not to replace a short section of sidewalk along Newnham and Slipp Pharmacy on King Street would create accessibility problems for some people. The new sidewalk, initially in the project’s scope, needs to be completed with the square upgrade.

Garnett said replacing the sidewalk would cost an estimated $24,000.

Mayor Jones explained the sidewalk has “got to be fixed for accessibility, anyway.”

Garnett said the change will reduce the width of the sidewalk while slightly increasing the width of the streetside parking spot, making it easier for disabled travellers to use.

Council approved funding for the sidewalk replacement.

Town sets fall brush pickup schedule

Woodstock’s public works staff will carry out its annual fall brush pickup throughout Ward 4 from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3.

Residents should place downed branches, twigs and bagged leaves to the curb for pick up by 7 a.m. daily.

The following guidelines apply:

— Only compostable paper bags will be accepted.

— Small, tied bundles of brush will be collected.

— Branches should be no longer than 3 feet and material in diameter of 2 feet.

— Loose leaves will not be collected.

— Leaves and other debris should not be raked into streets.

— For questions or comments, contact the Woodstock Town Office at 506-325-4600 or email townhall@town.woodstock.nb.ca

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