Buzzing with fowl play: council votes to allow discussion on urban chickens and bees

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
September 7th, 2016

Castlegar city council voted unanimously at their regular meeting last night to discuss a motion to allow chickens and beekeeping within city limits – it doesn’t mean they are allowing either, just that they will discuss the possibility at their next regular meeting Sept. 19.

As many as 30 people showed up to hear the outcome of the vote, and the room broke into spontaneous applause in response to council’s decision.

Declared city byelection candidates Arry Dhillon and Cherryl MacLeod were both in attendance at the meeting.

The vote came near the end of the meeting, roughly an hour after an impassioned speech at the top of the meeting by West Kootenay Beekeepers president Nette Lack, who addressed many concerns and myths about bees, while underscoring the importance and benefit of promoting thriving local bee colonies.

“The honey bee crisis is real,” Lack said. “All over the world, honey bees are dying at an alarming rate due to pesticides, mites, diseases and weather conditions and it is crucial that we do all that we can to rectify the situation. They are after all, vital to our food production. Did I mention that they contribute to the production of a third of all that we consume at our dinner table?

“Although it is debatable as to who actually said this, it is purported that Albert Einstein was quoted to have said, ‘If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man’.”

An equally vehement argument against allowing either chickens or bees was presented via correspondence by Linda Millar, who was unable to attend the meeting in person.

Her arguments included the risk of attracting more predators, odour issues, birds being abandoned or turned over to the SPCA, and an overwhelming workload for the city bylaw officer, among others (her letter can be read in its entirety online through the city website, city council agenda, page 173 http://www.castlegar.ca/pdfs/regular_agenda_6-September-2016.pdf ).

The issue has long been a contentious one within the city, coming to a council vote at least twice in the past decade with both votes disallowing urban animal husbandry.

City councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff says the time has come to revisit the issue.

“If we’re going to talk about being a sustainable community … instead of just talking about it or writing about it, we have to put our actions behind it,” she said. “It’s 2016 – if communities all around the country can figure out a way to do this, so can Castlegar. If there’s a will, there’s a way.”

City councillor Deb McIntosh, who brought the motion forward, said the plan is to start off with a pilot project that employs strict regulations and enforcement to test, hone and tweak the approach before opening it up to the entire community, should the motion be passed.

City councillor Florio Vassilakakis was on a family vacation at the time, but attended remotely, from Greece (where it was 5:30 a.m.).



This post was syndicated from https://castlegarsource.com
Categories: GeneralPolitics

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