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PhilEvans

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PhilEvans last won the day on November 27 2017

PhilEvans had the most liked content!

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About PhilEvans

  • Rank
    Pupa

Converted

  • DECA Holder
    Yes
  • Beekeeping Experience
    Hobby Beekeeper

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    Hamilton

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  1. I have been reading back through these posts, and would like to mention to @WaipaDC that "evidence and merits" were ignored by the Staff Report writer and the committee compiling the current rules, back in 2014. 7 of the 9 submissions back then all contained evidence and merits of beekeeping, but were ignored. That is where my previous comment about 'ignorance' stemmed from. Those staff members and the Councillors at the time 'ignored' evidence and merits from experts. That in itself, given the Council is now aware of the reality of beekeeping, should be enough to generate a confirmed review of the rules. Not having the flexibility to automatically review or change rules created that are not based on "evidence and merits" when that is their own criteria, should not be acceptable to any ratepayer. And while lobbying may not have any statutory weight, without it, nothing would ever happen. And given the lobbying will present the "evidence and merits" of beekeeping, I am certain Council staff will be listening very closely to what is presented by beekeeping experts, as Council staff are not the experts on this issue.
  2. I just zoomed right in, and there are some empty cells, and some that look like dried larvae, maybe chilled after the swarm occurred, which could also have happened to the capped brood. Not enough bees left in the hive to keep everything warm when the swarm left. But there is an emerging bee, just to the right of centre, and about 1/3 of the way down. That would make sense if the swarm was 2 weeks ago.
  3. Looks like backfilling brood area with nectar. If the hive swarmed 3 weeks ago and there is no laying queen, those capped cells should have emerged (21 days), as the queen would have stopped laying days before the swarm.
  4. That is exactly what happens in Hamilton, and I am sure most other cities and towns. Given there were 5 complaints in Hamilton to the Council in the last 12 months, and all were resolved with communication amongst the neighbours. Resolutions were either education, moving hives or reducing numbers. There has not been more than 5 complaints each year over the last 6 years at least, and there are currently 1600 inside the city boundary. I do not believe there are many complaints, and even the Staff Report in 2012 did not mention numbers, only "a number of complaints". On your point of distance from boundary, I have my hives about 1 meter from a 1.8m fence. The bees fly up and over the fence and the neighbour on that side only noticed bees when I was inspecting. He often leans over the fence watching while I am in the hives. The front and to the left of the hives is a long drive, and the bees always stay low until the have to go up and they stay up. In my experience from watching bees, the closer they are to a 6 foot high fence, the better. If the adjoining fence is 1.2m high and the hives are 10m away, the bees stay low, and are therefore in the neighbour head/body space as they cross. Simply putting the fence up to 1.8 solves the problem, meaning the hives can be up against the 1.8m fence with no issues to neighbours. And I have 13 immediate neighbours and currently 6 hives. Some of them don't even know they are there, and all fences apart from down the drive are 1.8m. Distance from boundary is not the issue, fence height is. The current application only came about because the person who bought the adjoining property saw the hives and contacted the council. He did that before buying, and it was at that point the Council contacted the beekeeper and required the consent application. The new neighbour did not make a complaint, and Council staff have confirmed that. They are enforcing the rules only now they know the hives are there, and they have been there for 2 years with none of the neighbours complaining. Even the neighbour who sold was allergic to bees but had no issue, and used to sit under the porch within about 5 meters of the hives over a 1.2m fence. No issue ever, and even though this has been communicated to the council staff, they seem to be forced to act on enforcement. Council staff with a better understanding of bees would probably have granted a hold to all applications as was requested early on, but looking thorough the staff report from 2012, it seems enforcement and potential problems are the drivers, rather than a sensible approach and hold all applications until the rules can be reviewed. I think Council staff have a much better appreciation of the current rules, and know they are wrong, and I really hope they will encourage Councillors to review and change them. Now they are aware of this discussion, and part of it, the rule change is far more likely. Should they choose not to encourage change, then it can be taken much further and involve the media, although that may be useful to get the wider community involved... Anyway, it is now up to Staff to put the option to Councillors to see if they will agree to the review process. The next step for beekeepers is to contact Councillors in Te Awamutu and Cambridge to get on board... The submission process would happen during the review process. First step is to encourage Councillors to do the review... It will be put to them early 2020.
  5. UPDATE Today I have emailed all 9 Te Awamutu and Cambridge Councillors, and the Waipa Mayor, with a request for them to review the beekeeping rules when they come up early next year. Just letting them know the basic issues, and that the rules are going to be presented to them for prioritisation early next year. Here is the web page listing the Cambridge and TA Councillors. If you know any of them, please talk to them about this issue, and encourage them to support a review of the rules, and allow beehives legally back into those towns. It is Councillors that can change the rules, and it is Staff that implement them. Nothing will happen without Councillors support. https://www.waipadc.govt.nz/our-council/our-team/mayor-and-councillors
  6. It is great the you have joined this debate. Nothing I have said is out of order, or defamatory, but I can understand why WDC is defensive. Hopefully this discussion will highlight how silly the current rules actually are. And yes, I fully acknowledge that they exist. What I don't understand is the brick wall that exists at WDC. It makes no sense at all, where rules have been introduced that have never been fit for purpose, must be adhered to absolutely. WDC have refused to put a hold on existing and future applications until the rules review process has run its course, which includes not going further than the current list. I do not believe that Councils, in issues like this, need to be so heavy handed. That is not being civic minded at all. It simply raises hackles and makes Councils look bullish. We requested that a reasonable fee be charged, and not the outrageous $2100 deposit. You state that the change you made was not at the request of any party... Sorry, but I dispute that, as both myself and the applicant both requested this fee remission. It is also very unfortunate that the fee reduction occurred just after the applicant filed his application on Tuesday, paying the full $2100. Will he get a refund of $1536? It would be a great gesture of the Council to organise and post a cheque back to the applicant without being asked. It is also not really "actual costs". It certainly does not take 3 hours to read through the application, see the signed neighbours consents, look the site up on google maps, and issue the consent. An hour at the most... If you are forced to go through a much more complicated process, then you would surely welcome the rules being removed from the DP as soon as possible, and allowing hobbyists beekeepers to have their hives - as happens in 64 other NZ Councils. I apologise if I come across as angry, but that is because I am. Brick walls do that to people.
  7. Yes I absolutely agree. But it is a big backdown on the ignorance and arrogance shown by the Council staff. Sadly, because the rules exist as they do in the District Plan, they are required to enforce those rules, and their own policy requires them to recover all costs. It is the fact they charge $188 per hour that is absolute robbery. It certainly doesn't take someone that long to read 10 or so pages of info required in the application. It is still a big backdown from what they has said up until this point. We also know there are approximately 60 hives in Te Awamutu, and no consents have been issued by the Council inside the TA boundary, so fronting up has not been happening. The only reason the current enforcement is happening is because a new neighbour saw the hives over the fence, and contacted the Council...
  8. UPDATE: Waipa District Council are finally coming to the party, and have announced a significant drop in the costs of gaining consent to have 2 beehives. A deposit of $2100 was required at the time of application, with an unknown refund given if the Council process allowed. There has never been any indication of what the actual costs were. Today, Waipa DC has advised there will be a Fixed Fee of $564 on application if either, 10m & 25m distances are exceeded, OR all neighbours sign the consent for hives to be closer. They have clarified this is for 2.5 hours of Planner time, and 0.5 hours of Team Leader time. The start of the email to the applicant reads... "As this issue is reasonably topical at the moment,..." It seems as though enough pressure is being applied to get them to look seriously at this. The next step is to get the issue properly before the new elected Councillors to fully review, and hopefully get a major overhaul, or retraction in line with the vast majority of other Councils. I am drafting a basic info pack to bring this to their attention, so they are aware of the stupidity of the current rules.
  9. That is why there are no consents granted for residential Te Awamutu. If you read the Rules, it appears that the distance AND the neighbours consent is required. The deposit is $2100 to lodge a Land Use Consent Application, but they will not say what the actual cost is. The Discretionary Actuvity status, which beekeeping falls under, mainly deals with fixed building, changing use of buildings, and extensions etc. The costs and extent of application requirements is extensive, and massively unnecessary for siting 2 beehives. If a neighbour doesn't sign consent, the cost of a contested application is $7165. To lodge a Private Rule Change for something in the District Plan, is, from memory, about $78,000 All those figures have been advised that they are "actual costs"
  10. Update: Waipa District Council have clarified their Rules around distance from boundaries/dwellings. The distances defined in the District Plan are 10 meters from a boundary, and 25 meters from a neighbours dwelling. It now seems that if the beekeeper gets signed consent from all neighbours to site the hives within those distances, then that is sufficient, and a consent should be granted. The beekeeper does not need neighbours consent if the hives are at, or further than the distances above.
  11. Yes you can. Please read my first comment. It provides an email address for the policy manager, who has stated the issue is on the list for "prioritisation" early next year. Apparently it involves a briefing to Councillors on a few issues in the District Plan that need changing. There is no gaurentee that it will make it past the "prioritising stage" and that is where other beekeepers can possibly help. Emailing Tony Quickfall and asking him to ensure that this is reviewed, and that Councillors be fully encouraged to review it, because it is just plain wrong, and basically stops all beekeeping activity in urban Te Awamutu and Cambridge. I have provided Tony with a good number of reasons why and how the rules are stupid, but more and repeated info will always help. The current sticking points are distance from boundary (10m) and dwellings (25m) and neighbours consent will force the consent application to be declined. Flight paths and hive placement seems to be totally misunderstood by Council staff. And then there are the costs......
  12. Update: WDC have refused to put a hold on consents for beekeeping in Te Awamutu. A requirement is for a beekeeper to get signed consent to allow the hives, but the form states the neighbour gives away all and every right to everything to do with bees from that point on, so should the bees be an issue to them at a later date, they cannot do anything about it. I probably wouldn't sign it either. A standard consent costs $2100, but a notified consent when a neighbour doesn't sign costs a staggering $7,165.... for 2 hives. In this case they have been there for 2 years already with zero complaints from any neighbour. No wonder there have been no approved consents in Te Awamutu. This is quite staggering and nonsensical, and shows the absurdity of some aspects of bureaucracy. You've heard of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut... this is using a planet to squish a bee.
  13. An update on the Waipa beekeeping consent process for Te Awamutu and Cambridge. I asked for the number of existing consents for Te Awamutu urban area, and was sent a list of 7 Current consents, all for Rural delivery addresses around Te Awamutu, and NONE within the town boundary. We have it on good authority that there are more than 66 hives within Te Awamutu. We have also managed to get the Council to put a hold on what seems like the first beehive consent application since 2014, as the RMA process of amending/removing the beekeeping rules are up for review early next year. So if anyone gets approached by Waipa District Council to apply for a consent for their TA hives, please let me know. They have no idea how many hives exist, and haven't been looking. Proves their rules are pointless, as they focus on complaints (which there have not been any for years). The current application was only initiated by a query by a prospective buyer for a neighbouring property. They saw hives over the fence and called the Council. No complaint has been laid. Hamilton has had only 21 complaints in the last 6 years, plus 1 about a swarm. They related to were resolved amicably, through re-positioning, reducing numbers, and general advice and education.
  14. There are no specific rules for keeping bees in Auckland Council, apart from the usual consideration to neighbours, flight paths etc. If you want to put hives on public property, then you need a consent and possibly pay a fee. Private property is fine. No limits on numbers, but if neighbours complain, you may need to reduce numbers. Common sense really and consideration for neighbours. Most Councils will work with beekeepers and neighbours to find a solution if the neighbours cant sort it themselves. https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/dogs-animals/keeping-other-animals/keeping-bees/Pages/manage-your-bees.aspx
  15. I am trying to get the Council to hold off accepting any further applications for consent until this can be reviewed, so current and potential beekeepers in the towns don't have to hire lawyers or pay $2100 deposit. I am also trying to get statistics from Hamilton City Council about complaints and prosecutions for the last few years, as further evidence of the invalid justification for making the rules in the first place. One of the main reasons for the current Waipa District Plan rules was "ease of prosecution", rather than a simple Bylaw for Animal Neusance, as most other Councils have. I doubt anyone has ever been prosecuted for anything related to keeping bees in residential areas, in any Council anywhere in the country, ever. If there has, I would love to know what for. I would guess that all complaints have been handled amicably or through mediation if necessary, and resolved.
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