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PhilEvans

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PhilEvans last won the day on November 27 2017

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About PhilEvans

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    Pupa

Converted

  • DECA Holder
    Yes
  • Beekeeping Experience
    Hobby Beekeeper

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    Hamilton

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  1. I wouldn't say out of control as such, but definitely ignorant of the reality of bee behaviours, and focusing on ease and power of prosecution, rather than bee stuff. I have been accused of defamation by criticising council staff, but in this case, back in 2012/14, there was definitely a lack of understanding ob how bees actually work, and I will stand by that criticism...
  2. This particular issue about bees is not a bylaw, it is actually set in the District Plan, which is managed under the Resource Management Act. I am not sure how long beekeeping rules have been in the DP, but they were reviewed in 2012/2014, and back then, public submissions were asked for. One of the councillors at the recent council meeting where this was voted on to go to review, said he was part of the council that set the current rules, and seemed upset that 1 person (me) could complain and see the rules up for review. I don't think he appreciated learning that one of his DP rules was actually not fit for purpose. If you read the background on the 12/14 review, it was stated that putting the rules in the DP allowed for greater prosecution powers... But the reports didn't bother looking into other councils prosecution rates, of which there are very few, if any. The current boundary distances were reduced from what must have been rural distances, but were still 5 times greater than recommended in a submission by Waikato Bee Club's submission. I currently have 4 ives about 1.5m from a fence line, and the neighbour never sees any of the bees, except a few on his flowers. The reason is a 6 foot high fence that forces the bees up and well above head height. THAT is what is needed in residential areas. A 1.8m fence, even if some of it is trellis, to keep bees above head height... Distance from boundary is irrelevant if fences are 1.8m high. If they are 1.2m high, the bees fly through neighbours properties at chest/head height - and that is where the problem is. The rules need to recognise fence height, and not distance from boundary.
  3. This is an article written following last Tuesdays Council meeting. I have spoken to a couple of non bee people who found it confusing, as it doesn't say why the rules are being reviewed... I was asked for my reasons for asking for the review, and gave the reporter heaps of info, which he completely ignored... https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/119970866/waip-beekeepers-fly-under-the-radar-avoiding-resource-consents
  4. Yesterday I asked WDC how they will be handling the 363 beehives that they now know are currently in Cambridge and Te Awamutu. This morning I got the following response from the District Plan Policy Manager... "Enforcement is on a case by case basis. We are not intending to proactively enforce hives in residential areas, but if we do receive further complaints, then we do have an obligation to follow up on complaints received. We can’t lawfully hold off enforcement pending a possible rule change, but we can use different approaches and enforcement tools depending on the particular circumstance. If we do receive complaints, we will look at the effects associated with any complaint, take into account where the rule review is in the process, and make a call from there. " I would like to thank Tony for his very fair report to Councillors yesterday, and @WaipaDC Councillors for voting to review. As @Maggie James said above, the process could drag on, but at least it has started...
  5. Waipa District Councillors have this morning voted in favour of reviewing the current District Plan rules for beekeeping. The report presented to Councillors today showed a significant number of beehives in both Te Awamutu and Cambridge, and described the current rules as "ineffective". The process now goes through the rigorous RMA process of review (which I think is overkill for this issue) but it is what it is. I will keep adding to this thread as the process progresses... and will definitely advise when submissions are called for...
  6. It is interesting that in the last 2 years, there were 6 complaints, and 9 queries about bees, (a far higher rate than in Hamilton City where there are over 1400 hives) that resulted in the only (one) consent being issued, and that going back 5 years. We were told that Council had to act, and enforce compliance whenever they were made aware of bees in urban areas. I wonder if in all those 14 other cases, the beekeeper just moved the hives away, rather than comply with a consent process designed for making modifications to buildings...
  7. I have today received the Agenda for Waipa District Council's meeting next Tuesday that will discuss the possible changes to the current beekeeping rules for Te Awamutu and Cambridge. Council's recommendation proposes that:- Recommendation That the Strategic Planning and Policy Committee resolve to: a) Receive the report of Tony Quickfall, Manager District Plan and Growth titled ‘Beekeeping in the Residential Zone’ (document number 10364339); b) Review the District Plan provisions relating to beekeeping in the Residential Zone as part of Group A matters to be reviewed. The provisions in the District Plan relating to beekeeping in the Residential Zone have been evaluated against the assessment criteria and merit being reviewed because the provisions are ineffective. It is recommended the Committee accept this report and approve a review of the beekeeping in the Residential Zone rule. Group A is the items Council want Councillors to approve to get started on changing, so this is great news... and it shows that Council now see the current rules as ineffective. 😄 The meeting on Tuesday is just to get the ball rolling to move forward. No other decisions will be made on Tuesday, and there will be opportunity for anyone to make submissions when the time comes. As soon as I have an indication of how long this process might take, I will post here. At this stage it looks likely to be around mid 2020. Below is the Report prepared by Staff and presented to Councillors today along with the Agenda. Background The District Plan currently contains a rule in the Residential Zone that requires a discretionary resource consent for “the keeping of up to two beehives”. This rule has been requested to be reviewed by a member of the public, on the basis that “[it is] extremely restrictive, and [is] not really based on the realities of keeping hives on residential properties”. This report is being presented separately due to a potential conflict of interest with another member of staff being involved in the bee-keeping industry in a personal capacity. Council is obligated to follow up on complaints received on breaches of the District Plan. Six complaints have been received in the last two years relating to beehives in the urban areas of the District, and another nine queries in relation to existing beekeeping operations, or the requirements for keeping bees in their own garden or a council reserve. The complaints were all in the months between October and March, the warmer months when bees are at their most active. While there are not a significant number of complaints, there is an issue of significant non-compliance with the current rule in the District Plan. Information received from the Management Agency - National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan, the agency with which all beehives must be registered, shows that within the Te Awamutu urban area there are 19 apiaries (sites) and 128 beehives, and within the Cambridge urban area there are 29 apiaries and 235 beehives. These figures include only those beehives that are registered. There are likely to be more that are not registered. Council records show that there has only been one resource consent for keeping beehives in the Residential Zone in the last five years. This consent was applied for and granted in 2019. Clearly the rule in the District Plan is not effective because there are a large number of unconsented beehives in the Residential Zone. The need for a review of the rule has been evaluated against the assessment criteria. Staff evaluation is that the rule should be reviewed because it is ineffective. Pre-Determining the Outcome At least one member of the public has suggested that the rule is unnecessary and asked that the rule be deleted from the plan under urgency. Staff have not made an assessment on the merits of the rule and so are unable to advise on the outcome of the review. As with the other provisions to be reviewed, it is important that staff and elected members do not predetermine an outcome before having undertaken a statutory analysis of the provision. The RMA requires a prescribed process to be followed for evaluating any plan rules. Pre-determination of an outcome, ahead of the policy analysis, runs the risk of legal challenge around process. It is equally important for any plan rules that staff and elected members are careful in making public statements around the merits of particular rules, again to avoid any predetermination. In terms of priority, this particular rule is ineffective, but the high degree of noncompliance and low level of complaints indicate that it is not having a significant impact on either bee-hive owners or neighbours. Relative to other provisions that need review, this provision needs a review, but is not a matter of urgency.
  8. That is precisely what I am trying to do...
  9. Waipa Council have advised the following... We are looking to take a staff report on possible plan changes to the March 3 meeting. We now have a list of a number of parts/sections of the District Plan which have been identified as needing a look at, review or correction (the bees in residential areas rule is in there), so there is still some analysis to do. Note that the report won’t get into the merits of any changes or recommend possible solutions (delete, retain, amend, amended wording), but is first seeking Council direction on what changes we progress to review. Once we have direction on priorities we will then programme the review and policy analysis. We’re on track for March 3 meeting at this stage. This meeting is open to the public, not sure of the time yet. I have asked if it is possible to speak to the meeting. Many Councils allow a few minutes for people to speak to relevant issues.
  10. Does anyone have access to the full study? It costs $36 (US I presume) from that site. Only the abstract is available.
  11. Just had a great meeting with one of the Te Awamutu Councillors. He is fully on board, and understands that the current rules should not be there. He has promised to ensure the beekeeping rules are supported to the next stage, and he will be encouraging all Councillors to push for the rules to be reviewed. I next stage is for the Strategic Planning and Policy Committee to present the "list" of proposed District Plan changes to all Councillors. This will happen on February 4th or March 5th. I understand there are now 3 Councillors definitely in favour of changing the current rules.
  12. When you log into the APIWEB system, there are 2 contact names on the left of the screen. Contact one of them, and they will email you the form. You probably registered after the date they sent out the forms.
  13. Again, the big shame is that the word "conventional" is used for chemical laden food production, which is wrong. Organic production has been going on for millenia, and is conventional. Chemical production is just that, chemical, and really is the sop out lazy way to grow proper food. Organic production can be far more financially viable, but it is the fact it is more labour intensive that puts people off. As I said, chemical production, which destroys so much of the environment, and so many necessary insects, is just lazy farming... If I upset anyone by saying this, I am not sorry, its just a fact.
  14. I know this can be a contentious issue, but having been in the organic sector for many years, my understanding is that pests and diseases diminish when the soil is treated properly, with composts and natural fertilisers that put into the soil what the crops being planted need. This creates healthy soil, healthy plants far less susceptible to pests and diseases, without the need for chemicals. Yes it is more time intensive, but it should be seen as one of the solutions, and not just a fad as so many people think. You don't need truckloads of chemicals to grow decent nutritious food, and the chemicals are just destroying what should be vital healthy soil. There are very few soil fauna in chemical laden soil. Such a shame.
  15. The best thing everyone can do now is to write to the 9 Cambridge and Te Awamutu Councillors and request they vote to put the rules up for review, when the list of items comes up "early in 2020". It is Councillors who will "prioritise the rule changes on the list", but we don't know what the other items are. We need to ensure Councillors are fully aware that the current rules are not fit for purpose, severely restrict beehives being sited in residential areas, the consent application is ridiculously expensive, and the consultation process completely ignored expert recommendations in 2012/14. The rules don't take into account the reality of bee activity. The Councillors email addresses can be found on this link. https://www.waipadc.govt.nz/our-council/our-team/mayor-and-councillors
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