Council shows the love for birds and bees bylaw

Alberni city staff will include regulations allowing honeybees and chickens on residential properties in a pending bylaw review.

Chickens and bees are about to become part of Port Alberni’s urban environment.

At Monday’s council meeting, councillors directed city staff to include regulations allowing the keeping of honeybees and chickens on residential properties as part of an upcoming review of  zoning bylaws.

City Planner Scott Smith read out the results of an opinion survey.

There were 1,500 surveys sent out randomly in city utility bills.

There were 553 responses representing three per cent of the Alberni Valley’s population.

On honeybees, there were 541 responses. Sixty eight per cent of respondents favoured keeping honeybees on residential lots while 32 per cent were opposed.

Fifty three per cent of respondents noted that they thought there should be two to four hives allowed on a property, while 36 per cent indicated only one hive be allowed.

Respondents reported that setbacks should be anywhere between zero to 30 metres.

The comments section included common themes such as concerns about bears, stings and allergies, vegetation pollination and the need for public information.

There were 549 responses received regarding the keeping of chickens. Of them, 63 per cent supported keeping chickens while 37 per cent were opposed.

Seventy per cent of respondents noted that 4-10 birds should be allowed to be kept while 23 per cent indicated fewer than four.

Setbacks should be between zero and 30 metres, respondents reported.

Comments included no roosters being allowed, clean shelters, and predator attraction.

Mindful of the number of negative responses and comments, it was recommended that staff craft a number of regulations and meld them into bylaw changes.

Properly done, the keeping of honeybees and chickens adds to community sustainability, the report notes.

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