To fee or not to fee — that was the question that had City council buzzing Tuesday.
Downtown homeowner Tom Nevin has had one beehive behind his home for the past five years without any problems.
He uses the honey for his family, gives it away or sometimes trades it for homemade salsa.
But on June 7, someone called City bylaws to complain about the hive.
And because of that, he has to get a variance from the City to keep his honeybees.
The cost of that variance is $800.
Nevin appealed to council Tuesday to have the fee reduced or waived altogether.
He pointed out that people who want a variance to have three dogs instead of the allowed two pay a fee of $350.
And his honeybees pollinate plants for a six-kilometre radius, improving gardens and making the city more beautiful, he said.
Coun. Tina Lange said she felt it was silly Nevin was even at council Tuesday. She wasn’t aware the City even had a bylaw about beehives.
The City’s bylaw refers to agricultural animals, not specifically bees.
Coun. Donovan Cavers said Nevin shouldn’t be punished for taking a leading approach in urban agriculture.
And Lange added that honeybees don’t bite, bark or crap like dogs.
A motion to waive the fee entirely for Nevin was defeated, with just Lange and Cavers voting in favour.
Then Coun. Pat Wallace put forward a motion to suspend any enforcement action against Nevin until the City’s agricultural plan report is submitted. It’s due in fall.
Her motion passed unanimously.