Unless someone gets a real bee in their bonnet, Maple Ridge council will have given third reading to the beekeeping bylaw at its Tuesday meeting.
The new bylaw, accompanied by a zoning bylaw change, allows people who live on lots that are 6,000 square feet in area to keep up to two hives.
The Hobby Beekeeping Bylaw was expected to get third reading, while a zoning bylaw change allowing the bee, was to get second reading, then be sent on to public hearing.
Mayor Ernie Daykin expects council to give the go ahead and pass third reading so it can get to final reading in a few weeks.
Staff and council had been concerned that beehives would attract bears, but Daykin said the conservation service has said garbage, rather than bee hives, is the main attractant.
A staff report also notes that large-scale beekeeping takes place in farm areas where bears are around and there are few encounters involving bears.
Because of bees’ role in pollinating fruit and berry crops, the Ministry of Agriculture provides technical and scientific help to cities that allow residential beekeeping. For instance, the ministry suggests that entrances to the honey bee hives should be facing the centre of the property so that bees gain altitude before they get close to property lines.
The report also points out that Maple Ridge should allow bee hives on the top of commercial or public or even residential buildings and that some high schools set up bee hives as study projects.
However, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district doesn’t support allowing beekeeping, citing health and safety concerns of staff and students.
“Really, it came down to a matter of student safety, because the bee stings can be fatal,” to some students, said spokesperson Irena Pochop.
Burnaby, the city and district of North Vancouver, Vancouver, West Vancouver and New Westminster all allow beekeeping based on a bylaw passed in 2000 in New Westminster.
The hives will have to be built 2.5 metres above the ground or be surrounded by a hedge or fence that’s at least two metres high to prevent wildlife access.
Council had considered the bylaw in 2010 then referred it to the school district for comment last September.