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The approval of Sunday gun hunting by West Grey council raised questions about the effectiveness of the municipality's brand new procedural by-law at a standing-room-only council meeting Easter Monday morning. A notice of motion has been made – there will be a motion at the April 16, 7 p.m. council meeting to rescind the decision.
Councillor Doug Hutchinson said that he "somewhat agreed" that the decision was made hastily. He said that he had not personally been aware that this would be a contentious subject when he agreed to second the original motion. Councillor Rebecca Hergert asked if Friday to Monday were sufficient notice for public input, and said she was pleased there would be an opportunity for more delegations on the 16th.
Bill Scriven, a West Grey resident and former chair of the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, was among several residents to raise questions during the public Q and A. Scriven described living across from a Grey County Forest as a "nightmare" and said that if he were to report every incidence of trespassing on his property, he would need to give West Grey Police "a room in the house".
He believes that the Sunday gun hunting issue is not one raised by local hunters, but by the members of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (less than 1 percent of the population of Ontario; all hunters represent less than 5 percent of the adult population) who are lobbying for a bigger hunting space in the province.
Scriven says the suggestion that those hunters  who may work on Saturdays need Sunday hunting belies the reality that such workers would have another day off during the week.
Scriven asked if the decision had already been a "done deal", given that the motion prepared before the March 19 meeting, at which two members of council were absent, was to allow Sunday gun hunting not to consider allowing it. He asked if the Sunday gun hunting question could not be put on the ballot and Mayor Kevin Eccles requested that staff look into that, but it appears that deadline (March 1) has already passed.
The request for Sunday gun hunting was made in West Grey a decade ago, but according to opponents, the first time that the public was made aware that the subject was back on the table this year was in the council agenda published March 16.
As delegations need to apply to speak by the Wednesday before a Monday council meeting, there was no opportunity for any other voices to speak to the subject on March 19th. A motion to table the issue until there could be further public discussion was not seconded.

The council's decision has been forwarded to the Ministry of Natural Resources who would not approve it before September. 


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