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District of Kent prepares for urban beekeeping

Permits soon available for a number of residential zones

As if the coronavirus wasn’t enough to keep District of Kent leaders buzzing.

The District of Kent Council approved the introduction of a bylaw outlining regulations for urban beekeeping.

According to a report from council, this venture began in June of last year, when the council asked district staff to explore options for permitting urban beekeeping within the district. Staff reviewed current regulations outlined by Chilliwack, Surrey and Trail. They noted common practices for keeping bees involved lot size regulations and that the beekeepers implement methods to prevent bees from swarming. Swarming is an unfortunate and consistent problem in the beekeeping community and it occurs when bees outgrow their hive and seek a new location. Prevention includes watching hives for swarm cells and ensuring there is ample growth room.

RELATED: District of Kent temporarily closes all public facilities and meetings

Prospective beekeepers would need to register with the Provincial Apiculture Office, which oversees regulations concerning ownership, keeping, transport and possession of bees. The province offers in-person and online courses on beekeeping, but there is no requirement by the province to complete coursework to become a beekeper. The provincial registration application asks for basic personal information as well as colony locations and numbers and the number of hives at each location. This can all be done with an online form.

RELATED: Beeing in the moment is everything in the art of keeping bees

Following a successful application with the District of Kent, beekeeping would be permitted for single family residential zones, rural residential zones and lake area residential zones.

In other council business, the deadline to submit surveys for the Teacup development has elapsed, officially ending on March 26 at 11:59 p.m. Coun. Kerstin Schwichtenberg moved that the deadline for public comment be bumped up to April 30 due to the fact that the coronavirus pandemic had otherwise engaged residents who would have wanted their voices heard. The motion died since no other member of council seconded it.

“It’s hard to imagine that this hasn’t affected some people’s ability to participate in this very important conversation. I don’t know why my motion wasn’t seconded,” Schwichtenberg told The Observer in an interview after the meeting. “I do know the council felt the timeline was the same for both sides of the argument and that the original dates were fair for everyone.”

District Mayor Sylvia Pranger said it’s not uncommon for motions to go unseconded.

“Council believed that the dates set provided adequate time to respond,” Pranger said.

Coun. Stan Watchorn offered much the same view, stating he “felt there has been sufficient opportunity for residents who were interested to provide their input on this matter and an extension was not required.”

Remaining members of council were as of publication unavailable for comment on this issue. This article will be updated accordingly with their responses for the sake of full clarity.

The District of Kent Council also would like to remind the public to use good hand hygiene practices during the pandemic. This includes frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and to use social distancing tactics when not at home.



adam.louis@ahobserver.com

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