Beekeeping bylaw pulled from Maple Ridge agenda again

Council will consider the bylaw next week after staff strengthen language to ensure it’s consistent with the Wildlife Protection Act.

First the beekeeping bylaw was back, then it wasn’t, but now it will be, in a week or two, and if council agrees, Maple Ridge residents will be able to keep two hives on rural residences of 6,000 square feet.

The bylaw was to be at council’s committee meeting last week, but was pulled from the agenda and  withdrawn from Tuesday’s meeting following an earlier presentation by conservation officer Denny Chretien on the Bear Aware program.

Council, though, will consider the bylaw again after staff strengthen language to ensure it’s consistent with the Wildlife Protection Act. The act requires homeowners to take responsibility for any attractants to wildlife.

That could require beekeepers to install electric fences around hives.

The bylaw is based on one from New Westminster.

A staff report points out that Burnaby, Vancouver, the City and District of North Vancouver, and West Vancouver all have bylaws based on New Westminster’s bylaw, which sets out general requirements.

Those include a maximum of two hives, located at the rear of the property and facing away from neighbouring properties and located 2.5 metres above the ground.

A source of water also has to be available for the bees.

None of the cities have seen any complaints resulting from the bylaws.

Honey bees thrive in urban areas and allowing urban hives can help bee populations, which have struggled in agricultural areas.