Calgary

Chestermere becomes Western Canada's first Bee City

Just the second Canadian city after Toronto to earn the designation, Chestermere will now do whatever it can to create healthy ecosystems for bees.

'The very best cities in the world pay attention to the health of their ecosystems and gardens'

The idea to apply to become a Bee City was first brought to Chestermere city council by resident Preston Pouteaux, a local beekeeper and advocate. (Getty Images)

The City of Chestermere is buzzing with excitement after becoming Western Canada's first Bee City.

Just the second Canadian city after Toronto to earn the designation, Chestermere is committed to doing as much as it can to create healthy ecosystems for bees.

Pollinators are struggling across Canada and around the world, and a decline in their numbers could have significant consequences for food production, since an estimated 85 per cent of flowering plants, including fruits and vegetables, depend on these pollinators. 

Threats to their survival include habitat loss, pesticide use, climate change, spread of diseases and a lack of diverse pollen and nectar-rich flowers to feed on.

'A great idea' says mayor

Preston Pouteaux, a local beekeeper and advocate, first brought the idea to Chestermere council in March.

City staff then established a special committee comprised of local community members and city staff and submitted an application to Bee City Canada, which was approved in July.

"It's always inspiring when members of our community share their passion with the rest of us. Truly the Bee City application was a result of those passionate community members bringing forward a great idea that we could all participate in to make Chestermere even better!" said Mayor Patricia Matthews in a news release.

Pouteaux, founder of the Chestermere Honey Bee Society, said he was proud to belong to a city that values these small insects.

"It seems like a small thing, but the very best cities in the world pay attention to the health of their ecosystems and gardens," he said. 

"We are the kind of vibrant community that sees the value in our bees, our people, and every blossoming corner of our city," Pouteaux said.

The designation highlights Chestermere's current efforts, which include more than 70 parks and green spaces around the city, and flower and tree-planting initiatives such as Chestermere in Bloom and the Birth Forest.