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Quispamsis reintroduces hobby beekeeping bylaw

By Brad Perry Mar 22, 2023 | 3:16 PM

The Town of Quispamsis is take a second stab at trying to regulate hobby beekeeping within the municipality.

Council shelved a proposed bylaw last spring after concerns from residents and the local beekeeping community.

After taking those concerns into consideration, town staff returned to council Tuesday with an updated version.

“Currently, the town has no mechanism to respond to complaints about beekeeping,” Jennifer Jarvis, the town’s planning technologist, told council.

It was a presentation from two Quispamsis residents in 2021 that prompted the town to look into creating a beekeeping bylaw in the first place.

After the initial bylaw changes were brought forward in May 2022, more than a dozen people spoke out against them at a public hearing.

Concerns included the limited number of beehives allowed on each property, the $300 fee to appear before the planning advisory committee, and the need to provide proof of liability insurance.

Jarvis said town considered those concerns and came up with a bylaw she believes will find a balance between residents that are having issues and those who want to have bees in their backyard.

The new bylaw increases the number of hives allowed from two to four in the Single or Two Family Residential zone (R1) and from four to eight in the Rural (RU) zone.

“This was done in response to concerns regarding summer time colonia growth and expansion, as well as wintertime losses from parasites, viruses and disease,” said a staff report to council.

It also removes the requirement to go before the planning advisory committee for hobby beekeeping in those zones, although a $50 development permit is still required.

Hobby beekeeping in any other zone would still require the planning advisory committee to review the proposal.

Jarvis said they also removed the requirement to have liability insurance, which she said staff learned was “going to be most impossible to find.”

In addition to laying out property requirements for hobby beekeeping, the proposed bylaw also includes a definition for “nuisance” that enables the town to respond to any complaints going forward.

Two people spoke in favour of the bylaw during Tuesday night’s public hearing, including Jocelyn Smith, who made the original presentation to council.

“While we’re hopeful for success with these new amendments, I think we also have to think about the possibility of failure,” said Smith.

“Not everybody follows the rules all of the time and I do think that this nuisance clause does allow a little recourse for the citizens that are living in that area.”

In terms of those who already have bees, Jarvis said they would work to “bring them into compliance” with the bylaw but adds they would be “legal non-conforming.”

“If they have X amount of beehives prior to the bylaw, they would be able to maintain that,” she said.

Council voted 7-1 in favour of the first and second reading of the bylaw. The lone dissenting vote came from Coun. Noah Donovan, who also voted against the initial bylaw.


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