Chilliwack Council Busy As Bees With Community Safety Task Force

Chilliwack – Chilliwack City Council were quick to tout two major endeavors after the afternoon session of Tuesday’s council meeting.

First, Chilliwack City Council approved the Terms of Reference for a new task force that will address community safety. The Integrated Community Safety Task Force, initiated by Mayor Ken Popove, will help address some of the more complex issues surrounding crime.

Over the past several years, Chilliwack City Council has responded to increasing criminal activity by adding more RCMP members and support staff to the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment. While these additions have helped police deal with increased caseloads, it does not address the root causes of criminal behaviour and the cycle of crime.

There are a small number of offenders who are responsible for a disproportionate share of the crime taking place. RCMP, municipal, judiciary and correctional resources are being taxed by people who reoffend. In order to effectively reduce crime, there must be adequate deterrents in place as well as appropriate and timely preventative efforts, such as counseling, treatment, affordable housing options, outreach and restorative justice.

The Integrated Community Safety Task Force will have a focused interagency collaboration on crime, identifying opportunities for improved systems, processes and initiatives in Chilliwack. Representatives from Fraser Health, Crown Counsel, BC Corrections, the RCMP, social service providers, Judiciary, the Indigenous community and more will create an integrated approach to developing strategies to address crime, taking into consideration adequate deterrents to crime and preventative efforts. The task force will collaboratively inventory the work done to date and look for interagency gaps and opportunities.

Second, Council introduced the Urban Beekeeping Bylaw to allow residents to keep bees in urban areas and to create the opportunity for more public education in urban apiculture.

Historically, the City only permitted the keeping of bees on properties zoned for agricultural and rural uses. Due to growing community interest and the importance of bees to urban biodiversity, Council directed staff to explore options for beekeeping in urban areas of the City in 2016.

“We are pleased to support urban beekeeping in Chilliwack,” said Mayor Popove. “Having a framework to regulate beekeeping in residential and institutional areas will benefit our environment and help our community learn more about bees.”

The Urban Beekeeping Bylaw will regulate for siting, property size and maximum number of hives. Beekeepers must ensure that hives are well maintained and healthy. The bylaw is consistent with provincial regulations and requires the registration of beekeepers and apiary locations.

For more information about urban beekeeping in Chilliwack, visit chilliwack.com/urbanbeekeeping.

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