Colwood city council voted at a recent council meeting to ban the use of all firearms and bows within the city’s limits.
The issue came up after a complaint over a resident using a bow in a residential area.
The bylaw bans the use of all types of bows and firearms, including pellet and paintball guns, in all areas of Colwood. The ban also applies to the use of practice tips with bows.
“This makes it completely illegal,” bylaw enforcement manager Kevin Atkinson said. “Bylaw will still use common sense, in the sense of enforcing the bylaw. … But somebody’s in a built up residential area … and they’re discharging a paintball gun in their back yard, they’ll be given a ticket immediately.”
Under the bylaw a fine of at least $225 can be issued for offenses.
Council also passed a motion to spend $3,531 from exisitng funds to purchase three concealable spike/ballistic combination body armour protective vests for bylaw officers.
The purchase comes as part of the adoption of a Force Options Response Policy, which was determined necessary after a risk assessment. The policy lays out how bylaw officers are to deal with violent or threatening situations.
Earlier this year a bylaw officer in Alberta was killed while investigating a complaint. Atkinson said that case highlights the need for protection and a policy.
“Nothing has happened, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen,” Atkinson said. “That’s all, we’re just trying to make sure we have the tools to make sure that we are safe so we can go home at the end of our shift.”
The vests are designed to protect officers from knives and other edged weapons, as well as some protection from ballistics. Atkinson said the vests will stop bullets up to a certain calibre. The vests are worn underneath uniforms and are discreet.
“We’re not adding to anything, there’s nothing changing in how our bylaw does their job and duty,” Mayor Carol Hamilton said. “It’s about providing them with what is increasingly become required in the way of safety equipment.”
It is also being recommended to the committee of the whole to include $5,000 to the city’s five year financial plan in 2017 to replace the vests at that time.