Rocky buzzing around the idea of beekeeping

Rocky Mountain House council has passed first reading on a new bylaw that will allow residents within town limits to have bee hives on their property.

Administration has been looking into a similar bylaw brought up by St. Albert, as they found that city had the most reasonable and tangible regulations in place.

Director of Planning and Community Development Dean Schweder stated that he was aware some changes needed to be made to “Rocky-ize it” but it definitely was a strong starting point.

“There’s a lot of interest in this and I think it’s pretty progressive,” said Mayor Tammy Burke. “I think it would have to have a very good public education component, because I think there is a lot of fear, but I think if done responsibly it can be a good thing.”

Schweder reassured Burke that anyone seeking a licence would require training and referred back to the mock-up bylaw which stated, “This Bylaw enables beekeeping as urban agriculture and no person shall own or keep Bees unless properly licensed in accordance with this Bylaw.”

Mayor Burke also wanted to make clear in the “Rocky-ized” version of the beekeeping bylaw if residents could legally sell honey that they produced at farmers markets and Market on Main.

The town is considering allowing each resident to have two hives. The Ontario Beekeepers Association says that a single (well-managed) hive can average between 70 to 90 pounds a year.

Schweder is planning to hold an open house with beekeeping experts before the bylaw is brought up again on November 12.