There’s a sweet project afoot in Huntsville – pending council’s approval

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If local beekeeper Craig Nakamoto gets his way, Huntsville students and community members at large will know a lot more about the plight of bees.

He is proposing to set up a couple of beehives on the roof of Town Hall, thereby pioneering urban beekeeping in Muskoka.

He said the plan would be to harvest the honey and have local students help with the extraction and bottling process and raise funds, which would go back into the schools.

Each year a different school could be involved. The capped frames of honey would be removed from the roof of Town Hall by him and two other qualified beekeepers, and taken to the school for processing.

“The goal is to use the beehives to promote education of honeybees and pollinators,” said Nakamoto, who is a member of the Muskoka-Parry Sound Beekeeper’s Association.

He said the plight of bees has been in the media for the last couple of years. “A lot of the problems that the beehives are having I think you can draw parallels to the problems that we’re having in our society. So I think it’s important for people to understand what’s going on with the bees and to understand that we may be facing similar problems,” he said, referring not only to the chemicals in our environment like pesticides and herbicides but the quantity of antibiotics we ingest.

It’s surprisingly similar to people. For example a lot of beekeepers, mainly it’s large scale commercial beekeepers, they just automatically give antibiotics to their bees just like cattle producers do and chicken farmers – they all do it now. But the problem is, just like with people, if you keep taking antibiotics they become less and less effective. Craig Nakamoto

He said the project also aims to promote more awareness of pollinators and how important they are for many of our crops and agriculture.

Nakamoto pitched the idea to the Town’s General Committee on November 25, as a community sustainability project and is hoping it’ll be approved by Huntsville council at its December meeting. If approved, the beehives would be placed on the roof sometime in March or April of next year.

“There are a lot of cities that have done the same thing. They’ve actually got beehives at their city halls like Ottawa, for example, Vancouver, and I just thought it would be a fun thing to do,” he said.


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