17th 19th Committee of the Whole meeting was long, so long that it wound up pushing the Council meeting until a Friday. The topic-de-jour was the issue of waterfront hunting with an astounding 10 delegations on the issue. If you need a brief history on this topic, please see our previous post by clicking here.
EDIT: Resident petition link added at bottom of post.
With the exception of 2 delegations, the remaining either called to an end to firearms discharge on the lake or a ban on firearms discharge/hunting altogether. Many of the delegates noted the role of lobbyists, in the form of the Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters, in the “crafting” of the current By-law (21-86).
Eventually the agenda reached the Staff report which said there should be a “mail out” to residents along the shore concerned with safety and that the Town was not equipped to investigate firearms discharge on Lake Ontario… in other words, do not change the By-law and allow hunting to continue on the lake.
Council largely agreed that the current By-law had gaps and eventually a motion to refer the report (and By-law) back to Staff for changes on water hunting and bow hunting on certain areas below the Escarpment was put on the floor. It passed 8-1, Councillor Vardy voting “No”… but it appears she had a reason for doing so.
Councillor Vardy put forth an “emergency motion” requiring a 2/3 vote of Members of Council to be heard. Responding to the concerns of the community and the delegations, the following motion was permitted to be put forward:
Moved by Councillor Vardy, Seconded by Councillor Freake;
Resolved that By-law 21-86 by rescinded and revert back to By-law 20-62 and have further public consultation.
The motion asked to remove the flawed By-law 21-86 and revert back to By-law 20-62 which prohibited firearms and bows discharge anywhere in the Town until more public consultation (not everybody uses Zoom) could occur. After much debate, you might be wondering “How They Voted?” on the motion.
|YEAS TO REVERT BY-LAW|
|NAYS TO REVERT BY-LAW|
The motion passed 6-3. The community really came out on this matter and Council listened… but all was not calm on Facebook.
Hunters Change.org Petition
A petition was started by a “local” hunter (meaning Niagara Region) to “Keep our hunting in Grimsby legal”. Spelling mistakes and grammar aside, the petitioner called everyone out:
I am calling in every avid outdoorsman, hunter, fisher or survivalist to band together and bring hunting back to Grimsby
And band together they have, by posting the petition to a Province-wide Facebook group (also host to derogatory slurs about residents)… the petition now has over 1,100 signatures.
Repeal – The Hunting Lobby Intervenes… Again
Not happy with the decision of the Committee of the Whole, a representative from OFAH took to their website to issue another “call to arms” for it’s 100,000 plus members and provides contact Council ahead of their February 7th meeting.
What is very interesting about the post is that the author deeps an even bigger legal hole for OFAH than originally stated by elaborating on the depth of the relationship with the Town. Obviously missing is some fundamental understanding of Municipal Law.
Further, the rep states “With everything that did occur, the OFAH remains committed to working with staff and council on this issue.”. Apparently residents do not factor into the equation.
You can read the OFAH “Insider” by clicking this link here.
February 7th Council Meeting
Given the petition and the OFAH post, any Member of Council should expect the “bum’s rush” of emails and phone calls from out-of-town hunters on the matter ahead of the February 7th Council meeting. Expect the tired “we help support the local economy” or “heritage” angles, if not already floated.
This meeting will be an important one to watch for residents should the item should be lifted for separate consideration, they can see how their Ward Councillors maintain their vote on the issue. With so many residents “tuned into” and having formed an opinion on the issue, elector memory will be strong should any Councillor succumb to the influence of the hunting lobby and “flip” their vote.
So What Can You Do?
Just as our previous post, get in touch with Members of Council and let them know your thoughts on the matter.
You can go about it two ways ahead of the February 7th Council meeting:
- Email your concerns to Members of Council at the following addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Speak as a delegation at the Council meeting (electronic participation via Zoom):
Delegation requests must be received before noon on February 4, 2022.
- Sign the resident petition calling for “No Hunting In Grimsby Neighbourhoods” at: https://www.change.org/p/no-hunting-in-grimsby-neighbourhoods