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Nelson unlikely to consider beekeeping until 2015

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More than 150 people have signed an online petition to have Nelson council allow beekeeping within city limits — but it’s unlikely any they’ll see any action on the issue this year.

At a bylaw priority setting meeting on Monday afternoon, councillors deemed regulations around beekeeping to be a “medium” priority, which places it in queue to be addressed sometime in 2015.

But Christina Yahn, who organized the petition, has already waited almost three years for council to address its current ban on all forms of beekeeping. The Slocan Valley resident and founder of the Queen Bee Project made a presentation on the benefits of urban beekeeping for Nelson councillors back in Summer 2011, after which they agreed to add the city’s beekeeping policy to a long list of legislation needing review or development.

She’d hoped the petition, along with an email campaign happening alongside it, would convince council to make it a “high” priority.

“I’m surprised at council’s decision to make it a medium priority considering the level of response from the public,” Yahn told the Star. “People who wish to practice beekeeping this season will have to wait at least another year. I believe this will be a factor in the next election.”

In January 2013, the city planned to host a Hens and Bees Open House, but it was cancelled last minute due to a medical emergency and never re-scheduled. Yahn remains determined to see that meeting go ahead.

“I think its important to create a dialogue between the elected representatives and the public for better understanding of all involved,” she said.

Many urban centres have already developed policies to allow honeybees, including Calgary, Vancouver, Vernon and Fernie.

“Not one municipality that has implemented urban beekeeping has gone back; they have all seen nothing but ecological, economic and educational gains from the ancient practice of keeping bees,” Yahn said.

The recommended changes to council’s bylaw priority list will be presented at the next regular meeting on April 7. Yahn plans to keep collecting signatures on her petition until then.

To view the online petition go to tinyurl.com/honeybeepetition.

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