Urban beekeeping drew Vernon council’s buzz Monday.
Council passed staff recommended bylaw amendments in support of urban beekeeping in the city.
The proposed amendments would allow for up to two beehives on properties less than or equal to 0.1 hectare and up to four beehives on property greater than 0.1 ha, roughly three times the minimum lot area for a single detached house in Vernon, for the purpose of urban beekeeping.
In September, council unanimously agreed to direct staff to draft zoning bylaw amendments to permit the keeping of bees in all agricultural and commercial zoning districts, and single- and two-family residential zoning districts, following an earlier presentation by Vernon resident Dawn Tucker, who asked the city to change its bylaw to allow urban bees in all zones.
Another proposed amendment is beehives shall not be located on the same property as schools or hospitals, except if the beehives are associated with a maintained community garden or educational use.
Coun. Kari Gares had concerns about the city receiving confirmation that urban beekeepers are registered with the province, which is a requirement under a provincial act.
“How do we know who is registered?” asked Gares. “If we’re changing bylaws to allow anyone to become an urban beekeeper, how do we know they’re actually following the provincial act?”
City director of community development Kim Flick said if an individual wants to keep bees, they don’t ever have to come to the city. They just have to conform with the required bylaws.
“You don’t have to be registered with the province for provincial rules to apply,” said Flick. “If you have a hive that goes bad in any way, shape or form, the province has authority to come and deal with it.”
The city’s support is truly appreciated by Tucker.
“I’m happy to say we now move forward in the process,” wrote Tucker, an admitted five-year non-conforming urban beekeeper, on her Facebook page. “I’m very appreciative to city staff and council who not only had thorough research but fought to have this common sense bylaw continue to move forward for residents. Let’s keep this going til we have urban bees in Vernon.”
Council is expected to pass the amendments and the bylaws in April.