Planning Committee Decision for the Birds
Deveau Able to Keep Quail for Year
By Catherine Metcalfe
Reprinted with Permission from The Daily Gleaner
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Friday, December 19, 1997
It was a decision that was for the birds. Literally. Last night, members of Fredericton's advisory committee found themselves dealing with one of the most unusual applications ever to hit their agenda.
Jean Louis Deveau, of Manchester Court, received permission to keep 60 quail on his property. Deveau, who has been raising quail in cages in his garage for the last three years, found out he needed special permission from the city to keep the birds when he applied for a building permit to construct an open-air pen on his deck. He raises the birds for food.
Deveau explained to reporters that quail is an enjoyable meat that is low-fat and a bit gamy-tasting. He said he needs to keep at least 60 birds at a time to sustain the population. He explained that since quail is quite a small bird, he cooks a dozen at a time for his family.
"Quail, when it is dressed, would weigh about seven or eight ounces," he said. "For an average person, an average adult, you would need two or three for a meal."
City staff recommended PAC deny the application, saying they had concerns about noise and odor the birds might create. Staff also pointed out that quail are not listed in the city's zoning bylaw and therefore are not permitted in a residential zone.
But Deveau argued he should be allowed to keep the birds since the city's zoning bylaw does not cover quail or any other wildlife. He also pointed out the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Energy has issued him a permit to keep quail.
Deveau suggested that raising quail for food is no different than growing a garden to provide fresh vegetables. He also presented the committee with a letter from his neighbours supporting his application.
PAC members agreed it was a unique case. And in the end, they gave Deveau a one-year temporary use variance to keep the birds. They also gave their OK for the open-air pen.
Coun. Ron Jackson said he visited the site and didn't believe the birds were causing any problems. "This gentleman is pursuing a hobby," he said, adding that Deveau is a wildlife biologist.