Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors are urging the province to ban hunting and shooting near residential areas within the SCRD.
The move follows complaints from Daniel Point residents of “people walking around with a bow and probably a rifle,” Pender Harbour/Egmont director Frank Mauro said at the Nov. 21 planning and development committee meeting.
“This was recent and I got many emails on it,” Mauro said, calling the situation critical and saying “no hunting” and “no shooting” boundaries need to be updated.
“I think we’ve got to get caught up. We can’t have people walking around with guns where houses are 100 feet apart,” he said.
Citing public safety concerns, the board resolution asks the province to review the SCRD’s hunting and shooting boundaries and directs staff to compile a list of “higher density residential areas” to include with the request.
The board made a similar request to the province in 2009 after several residents complained about gunfire and hunting bows in the Earls Cove area, planner Teresa Fortin reported to the committee.
At the time, the board had asked the province to “extend the shooting area further away from developed areas in Earls Cove [to include the area bounded by the Ambrose Lake ecological reserve, the northern end of Ruby Lake, the power lines and Agamemnon Channel] and the southwestern shore of Sakinaw Lake to Daniel Point.”
After discussing the request with SCRD staff, Fortin said, the Ministry of Environment wildlife biologist for the area “didn’t believe that a change to hunting regulations was required.”
The provincial hunting and trapping regulations synopsis identifies the area north and northeast of Daniel Point as a “firearms using shot only area.”
“Firearms using shot only is synonymous with ‘single projectiles prohibited,’ meaning that rifles are prohibited, and it is prohibited to use a shotgun with slugs,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said.
The area south of Garden Bay Road to Daniel Point — like the area east of Earls Cove to the north shore of Brown Lake — is designated a no-shooting area, which means archery equipment is permitted.
“No shooting is specific to firearms only,” the Ministry spokesman said.
He said regional districts have the authority to prohibit firearms within regional district parks only, while municipalities have the authority under the Community Charter to restrict or prohibit firearms or other weapons within their boundaries.
Regarding the Daniel Point complaint, he noted that it “is unlikely an offence to simply possess a firearm in certain areas,” as an offence is “usually connected with the discharge of a firearm.”