Stingless native bees. Picture: Tim Heard, sugarbagbees.com.au
Stingless native bees. Picture: Tim Heard, sugarbagbees.com.au

Surprise strategy to ‘supercharge’ Coast

GOLD Coast Mayor Tom Tate is all abuzz about offering a council subsidy to pollinate the city's larger properties with bees.

City Hall is a hive of activity about Cr Tate's 'Plan Bee' which would see council-funded hives for Gold Coast land owners in the hope of "supercharging" the native bee population.

Cr Tate yesterday morning wrote to council planning director Alisha Swain - copying in Cr Cameron Caldwell and Hermann Vorster - to discuss running a one-year trial.

Stingless native bees in a windflower. PIC: ANNE WILKINSON
Stingless native bees in a windflower. PIC: ANNE WILKINSON

"I would like to do more in regards to support our native bee population. As the native bees start to move into suburbia I wish to super charge the outcome," Cr Tate wrote.

Cr Tate proposed using existing funds from the council's 'Our Natural City' strategy for what he called a "local residents incentive bee scheme".

Stingless native bees. Picture: Tim Heard, sugarbagbees.com.au
Stingless native bees. Picture: Tim Heard, sugarbagbees.com.au

He estimated a $30,000 allocation would allow for a 50 per cent capped subsidy for 240 property owners to buy $250 hives off experts.

The subsidy would be for residents with 1200 sqm properties.

Abuzz with excitement, Cr Tate yesterday told the Bulletin it came to him in recent weeks while watching a Discovery Channel documentary.

Cr Tate, a honey fan, said it would be optional for landowners but hoped for unanimous support from colleagues.

Native bees. (AAP IMAGE/ Danny Aarons)
Native bees. (AAP IMAGE/ Danny Aarons)

"I am hoping my colleagues think it's a sweet idea and I doubt anyone will need to buzz off on this one - I want a unanimous vote," he said.

"I intend to put this to councillors to decide but I know this will also allow us to provide education through libraries.

"This will be something the whole family can get involved in."

"As we get native bees moving into suburbia we will see the greenery supercharged because these are busy bees," he said.

"If people want to have a go this allows them to do it and it won't hit the budget. Money is already there and it will give kids hands-on experience.

Mayor Tom Tate. Picture Glenn Hampson
Mayor Tom Tate. Picture Glenn Hampson

"It might even ignite a revolution in the bees - instead of losing them as suburbia expands, if anything we could see their numbers go up."

Council bureaucrats have had early discussions about increasing the city's bee population, focusing on potentially including hives as part of the conditions of development applications on some properties.

So far there's no sting - Cr Tate's push has been quietly welcomed by council colleagues who told the Bulletin they were prepared to support the motion but declined to comment.

Gold Coast Regional Beekeepers founding president John Polley said the proposal was a positive step for the city's environment.

"It is essential because bees pollinate not only the flowers but all the crops," he said.

"This has great environmental benefits because you will see greater productivity in the gardens as well as flowers."

It comes a week after Cr Tate attracted criticism for 'fat shaming' a controversial group of aggressive geese at Oxenford which council plans to relocate and exile from the city.



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