The City of Vernon held a public hearing last Monday to consider changes to its regulations to allow for urban beekeeping in backyards. (Contributed)

Urban backyard beekeeping creating a buzz in Okanagan

The proposed bylaw updates would allow for small scale hobby beekeeping of up to two or four beehives on most properties.

Bees may be getting a boost from Vernon city council.

Changes to the city’s policies regulating urban backyard beekeeping city were the subject of a public hearing Monday, March 25.

The proposed bylaw updates would allow for small scale hobby beekeeping of up to two or four beehives on most properties.

“Beekeeping adds to pollination which is a critical issue for us,” said Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming.

“Cultivating beehives in an urban context has a positive impact on bee health, provides ecosystem services, and benefits the agricultural community.”

Related: Vernon council buzzing over urban bees

In the past decade, a measurable decline has been observed in bee populations, which has the potential for significant ramifications for farming and orchard operations. Many crops are dependent on the pollination of crops by bees and other pollinators.

In light of this, increasing opportunities for urban beekeeping are being provided by many municipalities across the province to support ongoing economic opportunities in agriculture.

The city has the ability to regulate the siting of the beehives. To this end, clear parameters have been provided to ensure beekeeping best practices would be followed.

This includes siting setbacks, height requirements, and beekeeper responsibilities to ensure safe and low impact operations. All other aspects of beekeeping are regulated by the province, through the ministry of agriculture.

Related: Vernon-area beekeeping hobbyists helping protect the bees

Related: Video: Shuswap home to thriving community of beekeepers

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