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Petition calls on Nelson council to make beekeeping bylaw a priority

More than 150 people have signed an online petition to have Nelson council allow beekeeping within city limits.

The petition was started on March 4 by Christina Yahn of The Queen Bees Project. She’d made a presentation to council back in Summer 2011 about the benefits of urban beekeeping and asked the city to review a policy that bans residents from keeping hives on their property.

Council seemed receptive to the idea at the time and agreed to add it to a long list of policies and bylaws that need to be developed or reviewed. 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.

Now, as councillors are scheduled to meet Monday afternoon to prioritize the bylaw amendments they want city staff to work on, Yahn hopes her petition will send the message that beekeeping needs to be high on the list.

“Pollinators are declining and we need to do everything we can to contribute to their survival,” Yahn wrote on the petition website.  “Municipalities all over the world are accepting beekeeping as a necessary practice in their cities to increase food security and environmental stability.”

However, the information package city staff prepared in advance of the bylaw priorities meeting warns of some potential implications allowing beekeeping could have on city departments.

“Development Services may be impacted having to inspect structures for keeping of bees,” the document reads. “Bylaw enforcement may be impacted through increased enforcement requirements.”

Council will meet Monday at 1 p.m. in council chambers. The meeting is open to the public. Some of the other bylaws on its list to prioritize include sandwich board regulations, the downtown dog bylaw, and designating smoke-free outdoor spaces.

To view the online petition for beekeeping click here.

Staff Writer

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