A flurry of calls and emails from hunters to Coquitlam city hall triggered council this week to rethink its new rules around discharging firearms, and bow and arrows.
Mayor Richard Stewart said city staff will tweak the planned policy, which was originally brought forward after a bear was hit by an arrow on a northeast Coquitlam blueberry farm last summer and it stumbled into the nearby Minnekhada regional park.
On Monday, Coquitlam resident and outdoor enthusiast Paul Juoksu told the council-in-committee the city didn't give the public a chance to comment on the draft regulation. And he said stopping all shooting in Coquitlam would end hunting on Goose Island, a popular destination in Pitt River, which may result in an increase in the local Canada goose population.
Last year, the city of Coquitlam spent thousands of dollars to limit the number of the pesky birds at Como Lake Park, following complaints from regular park users.
Juoksu also told the committee meeting that hunters at the Swiss Canadian Mountain Range Association, on Burke Mountain, weren't aware of council's actions.
Stewart explained the intent of the bylaw was to deal with bow and arrow hunting - not shooting ranges - and the firearms discharge prohibition was added later as "it was a staff assessment that a firearm ban was a long-term goal of the city," Bill Susak, Coquitlam's general manager of engineering and public works, told the council-in-committee.
Several councillors, including Burke residents Brent Asmundson and Craig Hodge, said while they respected the rights of hunters, the city also has a responsibility to protect the homeowners on Burke, where another 20,000 people will live over the next 20 years.
"It's a changing area. The population is changing. Hunting on Burke Mountain is going to change.... The gun club is going to become - at some point - a conflict with development around it. That's just a fact what's going to happen," Asmundson said, adding, "We have to be looking forward as we're moving with the population."
Coun. Lou Sekora said he's opposed to the city banning hunting with firearms.