Council seeks public input on contemplated hunting ban

Complaints had been received about hunting within municipal boundaries

Members of the public are going to have their say in any contemplated move by the District of Houston to remove the ability to hunt within District boundaries on properties larger than two hectares in size.

The decision, following discussion by council at its Feb. 4 regular session, comes after a first reading of a bylaw amendment to remove the ability was defeated late last year.

And that amendment to a 2014 bylaw was introduced after the District received several complaints from property owners and residents.

Those complaints cited trespassing onto private property for hunting “and other misconduct and threats to public safety in relation to hunting within District boundaries,” according to a staff report prepared for council.

“Municipal staff have had numerous inquiries about the [proposed] bylaw and many residents have been reaching out to share their questions, concerns and opinions regarding the matter,” the report continued.

The report noted “current public confusion and spread of misinformation is likely caused by a lack of direct engagement with council, which can provide credible explanations of the issue at hand.”

And that prompted council to seek public opinions.

“Staff are planning in-person public engagement sessions alongside an online survey distributed through social media,” said District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck of what will happen now.

Staffers also survveyed bylaws covering weapons and weapons discharges from various BC communities.

Smithers, for example, prohibits the discharge of any firearm, including air guns, air rifles and air pistols unless authorized by the council there. Police officers are exempted from this requirement.

Quesnel does not permit any hunting within municipal boundaries and Burns Lake has no regulating bylaw.

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