The firearms and bow use bylaw returned to district council Monday in a form that left at least one councillor wondering if a mistake had been made when preparing the agenda.
“I was kind of surprised to see it come back the way it did. I thought that maybe they’d attached the wrong version of the bylaw,” Coun. Tony St-Pierre said.
“I thought that I’d been pretty clear about what we wanted to see as had Coun. [Megan] McMath.”
St-Pierre, McMath and other councillors expressed concerns about the bylaw when it was presented to council on Nov. 25 and sent staff back to the drawing board to address the issues raised.
The bylaw that was returned for consideration at their latest meeting, however, was identical to the one that council previously declined to adopt.
“Didn’t we talk about why guns and bows are only allowed on ALR land? I didn’t see that addressed (in the proposed bylaw),” Coun. Al Beddows said.
The bylaw issue dates back to 2016 when council decided that local farmers should be exempted from the district’s firearms regulations to enable them to protect their livestock and crops.
It took a year for administration to bring forward a proposed bylaw, but council declined to adopt that bylaw, sending it back to administration to include hobby farmers.
Seven months later, another draft bylaw was presented, but again rejected with council directing staff that the bylaw specifically address bow hunting and the culling of geese.
More than three years passed and administration brought forward another bylaw proposal; one that did not address either hobby farmers, or geese.
“I have no intention of letting this go forward in the form it’s in now,” St-Pierre said.
“It doesn’t address the root motivation and that’s to provide farmers a way of protecting their livestock and crops. And fiddling around with this bow and crossbow portion just looks like an add-on.”
St-Pierre described the proposed bylaw as nonsensical and questioned why council would want to restrict activities just because there is a “sort of urban inclination to make things illegal.”
“This isn’t a large urban centre. We have small farmers who are not on ALR land who need to be able to protect their livestock and crops. We don’t need to do something here just because it’s been done in some other municipality with a different set of circumstances,” St-Pierre said.
“I don’t want to be jumping the gun – or in this case the bow – just to get it done in a way that doesn’t address the real issues.”
Council unanimously opted to again send the bylaw back to administration and suggested that it be reviewed at a committee-of-the-whole meeting in 2020 when more discussion can take place.