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West Grey Council reversed its March 19 decision by a vote of 5 to 1 at the April 16 council meeting after receiving over a hundred emails, a 737 signature petition, and three deputations opposed to gun hunting on Sundays. This from a wide-spread municipality of approximately 12,000.  Liz Zetlin presented at the last meeting, and Dyan Jones tonight requesting council rescind the decision to allow Sunday gun hunting. Steve Horst spoke tonight in support of the original decision.

Two councillors, both of whom voted to rescind the decision,  suggested that the issue be a 2022 municipal ballot question.

Here are excerpts from Ms. Jones' deputation.

"...We are requesting Council to rescind Resolution 85-18 that expanded gun hunting in West Grey to seven days a week eliminating the only day, Sunday, as the narrow window for residents to be able to confidently participate in our natural areas. Nestled in Nature [West Grey's tagline].

This is not a stance against hunting. It is already established that for six days out of seven, gun hunting is permitted in West Grey. ...

On March 19, Brian McCrae, the professional lobbyist for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters drove from his office in Peterborough to Durham....In all respect to Mr. McCrae, he was doing his job. It seems that many municipalities are succumbing to his salesmanship. He spoke of dizzying economic and safety statistics promoting seven days of the week gun hunting that do not fit this place where we live. Nestled in Nature. ...

This was not a vote that should have been so rushed. It cannot be understated that this rapid decision was met with great surprise and indignation by the residents of West Grey. Residents pulled together, put boots to the ground and in just 8 short days, collected over 660 signatures on a petition calling for NO Sunday Gun Hunting from verified residents who have engaged with their neighbours with heartfelt discussion. Many who support and respect preserving no gun hunting on Sunday confirm that they are hunters themselves. We understand that Sunday gun hunting does not YET impact deer season, however it will add dozens more Sundays of gun hunting throughout the many seasons. This is not limited to private land owners but equally affects the shared use of public lands, such Grey County forests and conservation lands. For many this is the only access for quiet outdoor recreation. Only One Day Is All We Ask.

A counter petition was mounted by delegate Mr. Steve Horst in which the banner heading the petition stated: I quote "Now the anti hunters are trying to get the ruling overturned. They have flooded councilors inboxes with emails full of irrational, emotional fear mongering that is not based in fact or common sense."....

We need to repeat that this is not a protest against gun hunting. We need to respect our neighbours. Let's join heads instead of butting heads. Let the story of West Grey continue to honour its best assets – its people and the landscape.

We agree that our Council mandates economic development. In all of this, a profound economic opportunity has presented itself. We must realize the immeasurable value of the primary resource that we hold here and not squander it. West Grey is now under high optics from the media focusing on this important decision to be made this evening. Let's promote the beauty of West Grey that will generate far more economic vibrancy, branding a desirable destination for people to visit and decide to come and live here. Many have already. Housing starts are on the rise. Let's market this remarkable beauty to families and compel them to become residents. We can celebrate our uniqueness and livability and market our enthusiasm and sense of place as ambassadors who respect our forests, waterfalls and rivers. Nestled in Nature. Is this hindsight not giving us the true realization of the incredible value that is already present and available to us?

 

 

 

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