As a follow up to my Thursday post on Urban beekeeping, a Burnaby woman has successfully petitioned council to remove a prohibition of bees from the bylaws.

BeesOdds & sods: Loose lips, bees knees, a squat is jerked

Rather than see her hives destroyed, she had a prominent local commercial apiarist, John Gibeau, speak to council on the bees’ behalf. Gibeau, whose hives pollinate $100 million worth of local fruit crops annually, reminded council that bees helped in the pollination of local flora, produced honey, helped in the replacement of threatened bee numbers due to disease, and, beyond their practical applications, were part of the natural world. They rarely stung anyone, anyway.

Burnaby council considered, and voted to amend the bylaw. Bees are now legal in Burnaby.

The level of control that all levels of government have over food and natural processes is embarrassingly ridiculous. We have become so removed from the needs of our ecosystems that we literally paint our communities with pesticides of all colours, killing off the beneficial creatures with the “bad” – trust me, it is all relative. Then we go and say it is illegal to raise bees of any stripe, for any purpose, but we allow people to own pit bulls and other agressive breeds? When communities start discussing “sustainability”, many people think it is about municipal staff driving hybrid vehicles or changing out all the light bulbs in City Hall, but these barely register against the tide of peak oil and climate change related troubles we are becoming aware of. The amount of energy we use for ancillary things is less important that that of things we need for survival. Low energy food and water should eb any community’s primary concerns, followed by strengthening, or rebuilding the local economy to reduce reliance on long supply lines that are presently encouraged by multi-national corporations.

The above story shows the importance of bees to the local economy in the lower mainland of BC. Local food security relies on protecting the local ecosystems, as usable services in a permaculture designed community. Laws need to recognize the natural cycles, not break the cycles.

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.