You can now be a beekeeper as Fort St. John Council passes Bylaw

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – It’s now official. The Beekeeping Bylaw in Fort St. John has been passed and is now in motion.

Fort St. John Council passed the Bylaw at a Council Meeting on Monday afternoon.

The City ran a survey back in February that saw strong results from the community when it came to the potential bylaw.

The City received 177 responses. They found the following results:

  • There is a high interest in beekeeping in the City (44%)
  • 26% indicated that they were not sure
  • 29% indicated that they had no interest in beekeeping
  • There was a low level of rejection against neighbours having bees (11%)
  • There was a 88% approval rate for neighbours keeping bees
  • 50% of those respondents did have a concern of bee stings and allergic reactions
  • Survey comments indicated a high level of tolerance for beekeeping

The Bylaw states that no beekeeper is to have more than two Colonies and two nucleus Colonies on a parcel of land with an area less than 1,000 square meters or four Colonies and four nucleus Colonies on a parcel of land having an area exceeding 1,000 square meters.

If anyone is caught not abiding by the bylaw, they can be fined up to a maximum of $10,000.

The bylaw also states that the beekeeper must:

  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that the apicultural operation does not pose a safety risk to persons on adjacent parcels or highways;
  • Take reasonable steps to minimize the risk of damage to adjacent buildings and property caused by Apiculture
  • Provide Bees with access to sufficient and proximate water
  • Re-queen the Colony if the Colony engages in swarming or aggressive behaviour
  • Not locate a beehive within 3 meters of any neighbouring property line
  • Either contain a beehive within an area surrounded by a solid 1.8 meter high fence or place the beehive a minimum of 2.4 meters off the ground
  • Direct the beehive entrances away from neighbouring properties unless environmental conditions such as wind or limited sun exposure make this unhealthy for the bees
  • Locate beehives in the rear yard of the property

“Fort St. John is well known for its edible gardens and fruit trees and beekeeping helps our many urban gardeners,” said Mayor Lori Ackerman. “We are pleased to be one of a growing number of B.C. municipalities that support beekeeping as a beneficial and sustainable practice.”

The City says there are two steps residents should follow when it comes to obtaining a beehive.

STEP 1: Read and comply with the City of Fort St. John bylaw

Before you begin beekeeping, make sure your property is adequately suited to beekeeping. The bylaw outlines hive locations, safety measure, number of hives, and responsibilities of the beekeeper.

STEP 2: Register your beehive with the Province of B.C.

All beekeeping activity must be registered with the Province of B.C.

http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/animal-production/bees.

To view the Bylaw, visit: https://fortstjohn.civicweb.net/FileStorage/38D45DA672C6477ABDCB783E7AD21DC1-Beekeeping%20Bylaw%202373.pdf.