NDG man faces community garden eviction over beehive
Published Sunday, August 31, 2014 5:17PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, August 31, 2014 6:31PM EDT
An NDG man found out not everyone is sweet on urban beekeeping, as he faces eviction from his community garden for his new hobby.
Matthew Trowell is known for experimenting with agriculture at the community garden on Botrel St., but his latest experiment is causing controversy.
When a fellow gardener complained his tomato plants weren't getting pollinated, Trowell called in urban beekeeping company Alveole.
“They came and checked it out and I asked them, ‘Does it pose a risk to anyone in the surrounding area?’ They said no,” explained Trowell, adding he followed protocols and said his fellow gardeners weren't opposed to the idea.
“No, not at all,” said gardener Nicole de Verteuil. “It's full of bees anyway and I'm not afraid of bees.”
Trowell ordered the bees, but was then halted by Action Communiterre, which oversees the garden.
“Now… they want me to take it down,” he said.
No one at Action Communiterre was available for comment, but they posted two letters, warning Trowell his structure is in violation of the civic-minded gardening rules.
He faces eviction on Sept. 3 if he doesn't remove it.
NDG city councillor Peter McQueen said the borough has no bylaws regulating urban beekeeping, but believes caution must be exercised in shared spaces.
“If someone wants to have a hive on their roof or in their private garden, it's a very different situation than Mr. Trowell that wanted to put a hive in his six foot by six foot plot in a community garden with other people's six foot by six foot plots two feet away,” he said.
The point is particularly salient because the woman whose plot is beside Trowell’s is allergic to bees.
Trowell says that's why he put the screen around the hive.
“If they're fearful of bees, they shouldn't be here, because there are feral bees, there are wasps, hornets, you name it,” he said.
The urban beekeeper who helped Trowell said there's no reason to fear honeybees.
“A beehive is not something invasive. Most of the bees don't leave the hive and the ones that do know where they're going,” explained Declan Rankin Jardin of Alveole, adding that bees are more interested in pollen than people.
Still Rankin Jardin said as the community garden movement grows, so too will the need for urban beekeeping.
“Community gardens are not rigid structures and there's a discussion that needs to happen,” he said.