The City of Charlottetown is going to give the bee issue more discussion before making any final decision.
Last month, council gave first reading to an amendment that would see the definition of livestock in the city’s nuisance bylaw include bees.
If the bylaw receives second and final reading, which could come at the Oct. 15 regular public meeting of council, residents who live in an R1 residential area would not be allowed to have beehives.
The topic came up during the recent protective and emergency services committee meeting since the nuisance bylaw falls under the responsibility of Charlottetown Police Services.
Mayor Philip Brown and Coun. Mike Duffy both noted that it is well-known that the bee population is down from past years while Coun. Kevin Ramsay wondered if it’s better to just leave things alone.
Police Chief Paul Smith said he brought it to council’s attention initially because his department has been fielding calls from residents asking if they can have beehives in their backyard.
Smith noted that the province of Ontario has a bylaw that prohibits residents having beehives within 30 metres of a property line, essentially eliminating them from residential neighbourhoods.
Coun. Bob Doiron, chairman of the protective and emergency services committee, said the bylaw would not be meant to prevent people from having, for example, a small bee hotel in their garden but to keep residents from having “six to eight beehives stacked on top of one another’’.
Doiron said the city needs to understand that many residents have serious allergies to bee and wasp stings and a residential neighbourhood is no place to have a significant number of hives.
The chief concurred.
“Do you want crates of them in someone’s backyard?’’ Smith said rhetorically.
Brown said he plans to bring the issue up at the next environmental and sustainability committee meeting which takes place before council meets again.
If the proposed bylaw does go through, there would still be a number of properties in the capital city where hives would still be permitted. The Urban Beehive Project behind the P.E.I. Farm Centre on University Avenue, which features two hexagon bee houses, would not be affected.
UPEI and the Atlantic Veterinary College would also be OK, as would Red Shores (for special programs such as Old Home Week), the property of the P.E.I. Humane Society, any area lawfully used for a travelling show, petting zoo, other like shows or parades, festivals and events and any area lawfully used as a zoo.