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)

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

 

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

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

Just Posted

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stood at 6.3 per cent in May 2021, nearly unchanged from April’s rate of 6.2 per cent. (Black Press Media File)
Unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stagnates at 6.3 per cent in May

Latest figures reflect conditions before lifting of public health measures

The District of Saanich has pinpointed funding requests to Oak Bay and Victoria to help offset the purchase price of the Kings Park greenspace and keep the property intact. (Courtesy District of Saanich)
Saanich requests funding help from neighbours to preserve Kings Road green space

District hopes Victoria and Oak Bay will join them in protecting urban green space

North Saanich council Monday will consider the results of a survey conducted by the North Saanich Residents Association that finds little support for increased densification. (Black Press Media File)
Survey finds little support for increased density in North Saanich

North Saanich Residents Association conducted the online survey

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read