City Changes Its Bylaws

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Urban bee keepers are buzzing about the possibilities now that Vernon has changed a bylaw to allow backyard beehives.

With bee populations in North America under pressure and dying en masse, backyard beehives are more important than ever.

The bylaw also means Dawn Tucker is no longer a renegade.

Tucker had backyard beehives before they were legal, but a complaint last year meant she had to move her hives.

That complaint was also the catalyst for Tucker to become the driving force in getting the bylaw changed. Several groups and people rallied around Tucker and earlier this year the city passed a bylaw allowing for backyard beehives and Tucker said that is good news for bees and humans.

Bees are responsible for one third of the food on the planet, and Tucker said anything that can be done to help boost their dwindling numbers is vital.

“What it will help with it will allow people to support pollinators,” said Tucker. “There are other efforts underway to create pollinator pathways and create awareness around bees so it is a good support to give the pollinators the support they need.

“Everybody can do something. Not everyone is going to be able to keep honey bees, but everybody can do something, that's the wonderful thing,” she said.

To help backyard beekeepers the Sustainable Environment Network Society is hosting an urban beekeeping event Thursday at the Schubert Centre, 3505 30th Ave., from 7-9 p.m.

On hand will be special guest speaker Heather Clay, co-ordinator of Urban Bee Network, former provincial apiarist and retired CEO of Canadian Honey Council, as well as Keith Rae president of North Okanagan Beekeepers and Greg Keesey of Okanagan Bee Supply.

Tucker will also be on hand to answer questions regarding city bylaws.

“It's going to be a great event for people to come and ask questions and find out more about urban bee keeping, and the changes in the bylaw and to find out what they can do to aid pollinators,” she said.


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