The City of Belleville is proud of decision to becoming a Bee City Canada member; it allows us to continuing our pollinator efforts with support from Bee City Canada. This designation supports the Green Task Force Committee to continue working with city staff towards developing new pollinator initiatives. Councilor Chris Malette, chair of the city’s Green Task Force, explained how the action of joining Bee City Canada may seem like a small measure but noted every small step taken to help dwindling bee populations around the world helps given humans depend on the food bees pollinate.
This year the City of Belleville focused on policy driven change for pollinators. Bee City Canada was helpful as they assisted with information gathering and supplied other municipal contacts. Community interest around Bee City was strong this year and helped us led discussions towards bylaw changes for our yards. Challenges included informing Council of the importance of these initiatives.
The City of Belleville commits to the continued actions under the regulations outlined in the Ontario Pesticides Act, Cosmetic Pesticide and through the City of Belleville’s by law act as such the use of pesticides in Belleville is limited through these regulations and continue to be.
Overall, the Bee City experience has been one of a kind for the City of Belleville. We have taken advantage of bee city opportunities and supported new city initiatives. Challenges involve seeking funding for such pollinator initiatives, communicating our efforts with residents and changing the mindset of residents with regards to pollinator initiatives.
The City of Belleville takes part in numerous pollinator initiatives; such include No Mow May an initiative that encourages residents and property owners to partake in relaxed maintenance efforts. We work with bylaws to encourage and educate residents to wait until their lawn is 4-6 inches long before mowing for the entire month of May. By limiting mowing, native flowering plants will have a chance to grow and attract local bee populations and other pollinators.
The City of Belleville partakes in our “Let it Grow” initiative were select areas of city property is designated to provide support for pollinators and wildlife, currently we have about 8 hectares of “Let it Grow” areas. These areas encourage relaxed maintenance efforts which help keep grass long and allow native plants to grow and flower which attracts pollinators, like butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
The Green Task Force Committee, one of our active Committees of Council launches annual Seedling Giveaway Days. Seedling Giveaway days are a collaborative with Quinte Conservation and the City of Belleville which aims to educate residents and provide resources to plant their own seedlings. Additionally, the City of Belleville has pollinator gardens in park spaces and city trails. East Zwicks Trails is a 3.25km trail alongside the Bay of Quinte and serves as a prime example of where our pollinator beds blossom. The city has planted five types of white and red clover as well as a wildflower seed mix to help provide ideal flowers to attract pollinators to the pollinator gardens. The City of Belleville also has three community garden locations which provide an opportunity for residents to enjoy the outdoors and plant organic local foods.