Oak Bay opens the door to birds and bees

New poultry and bee bylaw gets approval

  • Oct. 3, 2013 8:00 p.m.

Raising chickens and keeping bees in your backyard has become easier in Oak Bay after municipal council approved amendments to existing bylaws, relaxing the rules on minimum setbacks and yard size.

Poultry and bees can now be kept on all residential properties with the amount dictated by property size. Properties less than 1,114 square metres can now have a maximum of five chickens, turkeys or ducks, while larger properties can have up to 10. Previously, small lot owners were not allowed to keep poultry.

Beekeeping is limited to two beehives on properties less than 930 square metres and capped at four for larger properties. However, no poultry can be kept in the Uplands.

Oak Bay homeowner and president of the B.C. Bee Breeders association Barry Denluck welcomed the changes.

“I’m very happy to see Oak Bay respond to our request,” Denluck said. He asked council last year to make it easier for people to keep bees in their yards. “There has been many wanting-to-be beekeepers patiently waiting for this amendment.”

“I am really happy council has agreed to this change,” said resident Doug Clarke, who already owns five chickens. “It’s a really good small step in the right direction.”

Clarke’s property was already large enough to allow for a chicken coop under the previous bylaw, but he felt it was unfair that small lot owners were not allowed to raise poultry.

“I had a lot of people coming to me asking, ‘why can’t I have chickens?’” Clarke said, adding he was surprised it took two years for the change to happen.

Oak Bay councillor Tara Ney acknowledged it took a while for changes to be enacted, but there was a process that needed to be followed which included researching what other communities are doing and getting community feedback. She said council has always been supportive of making the change.

“Our bylaws are often idiosyncratic and often it looks like we are putting up barriers, when instead we should be enabling people to do these kind of things,” Ney said. “This really gives the signal that council is 100 per cent supportive of people in our community engaging in local food production.”

Ney added the municipality is looking at other ways to encourage local food production.

“It hasn’t come forward yet, but we are looking at ways to enhance local food security initiatives,” she said, explaining that opening more community gardens is one option being explored. “We don’t have a lot of plots of land to do that, so we have to be creative. Our initiatives have to be tailor-made to the geography in our community.”

Bylaw enforcement officer Ben Manning said there aren’t many people raising poultry and bees in their backyards, estimating 10 for both. He said those planning to raise poultry or have bees must still register, for free, with the district and they will be given information about the newly relaxed rules.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Victoria parks staffer turns compost made from organics collected in the parks. Piles of this steaming, nutrient-rich stuff will be handed out between April 12-18. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Victoria shovels free home-made compost out to gardeners

Ideal for prepping food gardens, the compost, mulch and wood chips will be at city parks for pick up

A few dozen students and parents gathered outside Lansdowne Middle School South Campus Monday morning to protest proposed budget cuts to SD61 music programs. From left to right: Lyra Gaudin, Cleo Bateman, Abby Farish, Brigitte Peters, Enid Gaudin, Des Farish. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Students protest proposed cuts to SD61 music programs

Proposed $1.5-million cut would hit elementary and middle school programs

New programs and services aimed at helping the unhoused find shelter or housing in Victoria, and to take advantage of support services of various kinds, could be funded if a City of Victoria grant application is successful. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria seeks $3M to $4M in grant funds to enhance community services for unhoused population

Various supports, services for unhoused population part of broad-based funding application

Victoria Police Department seized a replica firearm during an early morning call to the 100-block of Gorge Road East on April 11. (VicPD handout)
Victoria police seize replica firearm in early Sunday morning call

Officers called to temporary housing facility in 100-block of Gorge Road East

Road improvements in Sooke are nearing completion . (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
Sooke road work nears completion

Projects part of $5.7 million in improvements

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Organ donation form from BC Transplant. (BC Transplant)
POLL: Have you registered as an organ donor?

They number 1.5 million strong and growing. But their numbers still fall… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 6

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
Vancouver Island team helps make $368 million three-tonne cocaine seizure

12 members from 19 Wing Comox involved in Op Caribbe

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photos courtesy Ella Smiley)
Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Nootka Sound RCMP and DFO Conservation and Protection Officers seized this 30 foot vessel, fishing gear and equipment as well as Chinook salmon, salmon roe, rock fish and ling cod after an investigation on Sept. 11. A judge in Campbell River on February hit the owner and his accomplices with significant fines, a ban on holding fishing licences and loss of equpment, including the boat’s motor and trolling motor. RCMP photo
Washington State trio’s fisheries violations the worst veteran officer has seen in 20 years

Judge bans three men from fishing or holding a fishing licence anywhere in Canada

Most Read