A group of Coasters who want to ban trapping in the District of Sechelt left a committee of the whole meeting visibly upset after a bylaw to prohibit the use of body-gripping traps was tabled by council for more discussion with trappers.
Coun. Chris Moore said he had just come from the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference where he had the opportunity to talk with provincial and federal trapping associations.
“When I look at the current proposed bylaw we’re essentially saying no trapping period in the District of Sechelt. Full stop,” Moore said at the committee of the whole on Sept. 25. “In my conversations with both of these organizations they are indicating that’s one backwards. We are going to create a problem down the road.”
Moore said the trapping associations have a piece of legislation before the provincial government right now to bring forth “a highly refined set of standards and bylaws that we could adopt.”
“They don’t know if they’re going to get the support of the province,” Moore said, noting provincial budgets are tight. “But these guys are stepping up and they’d like to interface with us. They could come and do a workshop here.”
The only councillor to speak against more discussion with trappers was Coun. Doug Hockley.
“I am interested solely in the protection of citizens, their pets, our visitors and wildlife within the confines of the District of Sechelt, and as such, I am not in favour of postponing what should have been adopted two years ago by this council and years ago by past councils,” Hockley said.
Coun. Darnelda Siegers moved to table the issue until the next committee of the whole meeting to give council time to meet with the trappers’ association and invite the province to weigh in on the issue.
When the vote was called, councillors Moore, Siegers, Tom Lamb and Alice Lutes were in favour of tabling and the motion was passed.
Councillors Hockley, Mike Shanks and Mayor John Henderson were against.
Wednesday’s committee meeting saw the first bylaw to prohibit the use of body-gripping traps come forward since an incident in March of 2011 that saw a dog caught and injured in a leghold trap in Sechelt.
Shortly after, a group of concerned citizens formed to work toward banning trapping in the District.
A petition signed by more than 1,500 people, several meetings and the involvement of the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals pushed Sechelt council for a trapping ban. Council instead moved to get involved in a pilot project with the province to develop an urban wildlife strategy, at the urging of the provincial trappers’ association.
Early in August, Sechelt heard the province has no plans to develop any such strategy.