Deadline nears for beekeepers or hen house hopefuls for Castlegar pilot project

Deadline to participate in the urban hen or beekeeping pilot projects is approaching, but city council is considering an extension.

Deadline nears for beekeepers or hen house hopefuls for Castlegar pilot project

The deadline for applying to participate in either the urban hen or beekeeping pilot projects is fast approaching, but city council is considering an extension to the deadline.

Residents hoping to participate in these programs should have their applications turned in to city hall by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24. From those applications, seven residents will be selected to participate in each program. The projects will commence March 1.

The goal of the project is to study the impacts of keeping these animals in an urban setting to see if they would be a good fit for Castlegar to continue with in the future. The projects will be overseen by steering committees, which will review and comment on how the programs went. The information gleaned from the pilot projects will then be used to develop a permanent policy on the keeping of bees and chickens.

“It is important for people to note that this is a pilot project anyone who is going out and just purchasing chickens and starting up on their own is going to ruin it for everyone,” said Councillor Deb McIntosh at the city council meeting when the project was approved. “You have to follow the guidelines. The application process itself is quite stringent.”

Participants will be required to sign a letter of understanding acknowledging that they understand that the program may be cancelled after the pilot project and they would then have to remove their chickens or bees.

Basic guidelines for the hen project include a maximum of five hens per household, enclosures must be set to the rear of the principle building, neighbours must be notified, no roosters and chickens must be kept in the enclosure at night.

As far as guidelines for beekeepers, a maximum of four colonies per parcel will be allowed. The lengthy list of guidelines for participants includes a minimum lot size, compliance with the BC Animal Health Act, possession of a Ministry of Agriculture beekeeper identification number and rules regarding placement of hives and installation of electric fencing.