Local farmer Ellen Lewers spoke up against a proposed bylaw governing firearms and the use of bows. She said that smaller hobby farmers were’t considered. (file photo)

Proposed Sooke gun bylaw misses the mark: council

Sooke bylaw would restrict firearm and bow use to ALR land

A report intended to clean up an issue that dates back nearly four years continued to miss the mark at Sooke council where it only succeeded in raising more questions.

Following a presentation to council, senior bylaw enforcement officer Medea Mills was sent back to the drawing board to take aim at cleaning up the district’s proposed firearms and bow use bylaw.

The issue dates back to January 2016 when council decided that farmers who were facing crop damage should be exempted from the district’s firearms regulation bylaw.

RELATED: Sooke looks to tighten gun rules

It took administrative staff a year to bring forward a bylaw amendment, but when it was presented in January 2017, council noted that it hadn’t included hobby farmers and sent it back for review.

In September 2017 council again directed staff to bring back a streamlined version of the firearms bylaw and directed that it specifically addressed bow hunting and the culling of geese.

But while the bylaw proposed to council Nov. 25 did include regulations for bows and crossbows, it did not specifically address the problem of geese. Instead, it spoke generally about the protection of agricultural crops and livestock from wildlife.

The proposed bylaw also failed to address the plight of hobby farmers, and limited the discharge of a firearm or bow to agricultural land reserve properties of at least two hectares.

RELATED: Farmers concerned about regulations

“Why is it [the bylaw is] only for ALR land? Most of the farmers in this region aren’t on ALR land. I can think of only two or maybe three who are,” Ellen Lewers, a local farmer, told council.

“And why would it be for only more than two hectares? That makes no sense at all.”

Coun. Tony St-Pierre also questioned the wisdom of some of the proposed regulations.

“Were there actually any hobby farmers consulted in crafting this bylaw? There seems to be a lack of understanding that for farmers, firearms and bows are simply tools,” St-Pierre said.

“And the rule that you can’t use one within 150 metres of a structure are ridiculous.”

St. Pierre said for hobby farmers who slaughter their own livestock, for example, a rifle is the most humane and effective way of killing the animal.

“You’re telling me that I have to take a pig that I’m going to slaughter and drag it out into the middle of a field to do that? Actually, talk to farmers and you’d realize that it doesn’t make sense.”

Councillors also took issue with the anecdotal nature of some of the report’s observations.

Coun. Megan McMath pointed out that she shoots a crossbow on her property and does so safely.

“How many people have been injured by a crossbow in the last decade? Any?” McMath asked.

“I don’t support including bows in this bylaw at all.”

Following a spirited discussion on the various aspects and failings of the report, council opted to not approve the proposed bylaw as written, opting to send it back to administration for another shot at addressing their concerns.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Sooke councillor Tony St. Pierre was critical of the proposed firearm and bow bylaw presented to Council. (file photo)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Saanich in driver’s seat for residential road speed reduction pilot project

District recruits 11 CRD municipalities to join pilot project to look at 40 km/h residential limit

Wheels in motion for Victoria bike network extension

Oak Bay council seeks inclusion on Richardson bike lane

Victoria archery club says goodbye to outdoor range in View Royal

Province-owned View Royal property will house handyDART facility

Victoria baseball club opens Royal Athletic Park for public picnics

HarbourCats go ahead with annual sock toss for charity despite no games

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

UPDATE: Vancouver Island skydiving community mourns loss of one of its own

James Smith, 34, of Victoria, dies in Nanoose Bay incident

Elizabeth May endorses Furstenau in BC Greens race

Former federal party leader backs Cowichan Valley MLA

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Most Read