City council makes room for bees and hens

Williams Lake city council has given the green light for backyard bees and hens in certain residential zones.

Williams Lake city council has given the green light for backyard bees and hens in certain residential zones within city limits, but not without setting some strict guideline bylaws in place.

During a public hearing held Tuesday at city hall, council heard arguments for and against four bylaws it later approved.

Resident Elke Reiner said personally she didn’t have anything against bees and hens, but they do not belong in the city core or residential areas.

“Williams Lake continues to provide special interest groups with opportunities without considering the cost of enforcement and inspection through appropriate licensing and penalties,” Reiner said.

Dave Dickson has been keeping bees for more than 30 years in various communities where he has lived and said the success to having bees is good husbandry.

“Bees are regulated by the government, we have to fill out a license and the inspector comes around at random throughout the province to make sure they are disease free.”

Martin Kruus told council he is interested in raising backyard hens and will submit to whatever regulations the city deems appropriate.

“I think there are enough examples from other cities to show that it can be successful and good for people’s health and skills,”

Keith Ulrich has a rental property in the city limits and said he’d rather have chickens than dogs next door any day.

“I was raised above a chicken hatchery in Dellaware and they make less mess than dogs.”

City planning technician Chris Hutton said the city will go ahead with a controlled rollout for hens and bees, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

“These bylaws should address all concerns and people should be able to raise backyard hens or bees with a positive outcome.”

The regulations being introduced are some of the tighter than any other municipality, he added.

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