A marked up map shows the firearms boundary lines.

City to adjust firearms prohibition boundary

The city is adjusting the boundary that dictates where firearms can be discharged

The city is adjusting the boundary that dictates where firearms can be discharged.

The change is aimed at making it easier to decipher where it is prohibited to set off firearms.

City Clerk Peter Wipper said each year, during and prior to the hunting season, the city receives several inquiries asking for clarification on where firearms are allowed to be discharged.

“One reason for the inquiries is because the map is difficult to discern,” Wipper wrote in a report to city council. “It is recommended that the map be replaced with an up-to-date, user friendly version utilizing current mapping technology, including visual reference to identifiable land marks.”

The new updated map will also include a couple of small boundary adjustments. While studying the map, city staff noted the existing boundary along the north side of John Hart Lake encroaches into Elk Falls Provincial Park.

On the new map, the boundary line has been moved from Loveland Bay Road to the north shore of John Hart Lake to avoid any conflict with the park regulations.

Wipper said the map also includes an adjustment to incorporate 5301 Duncan Bay Road into the prohibited area, which includes property within the city boundaries. The Duncan Bay site was left out of the original map because the property was incorporated into the city after the boundaries were adopted in 1994.

At council’s Sept. 14 meeting, city staff were recommending council give first, second and third reading to the bylaw in order to have the map established in time for the hunting season which is now underway.

But Coun. Charlie Cornfield was hesitant to adopt the new boundary lines because of the way firearms are defined in the bylaw that contains the map.

“I have a concern over the definition of firearms, and understand I definitely support safety when it comes to the discharge of what I consider a firearm, but this one includes pellet guns and B.B. guns and other compressed air or spring compressed devices,” Cornfield said. “Would that include inside a house? Myself, I was taught how to shoot using a pellet rifle right in an indoor range in my basement. And the way this bylaw reads, it would prohibit discharge of a firearm within city boundaries and that’s including pellet guns which to me doesn’t seem to be a safety issue. Am I reading the bylaw correctly? Would it actually prohibit that?”

Tracy Bate, the city’s deputy city clerk who was filling in for Wipper, said she wasn’t familiar with the file and would have to get back with that information.

Cornfield said in that case he would only be comfortable passing first and second reading which would give staff time to report back before third reading and adoption. Cornfield made that motion but it was defeated by councillors Michele Babchuk, Colleen Evans, Ron Kerr and Marlene Wright.

Coun. Kerr said he didn’t think anything would change by amending the map.

“It’s my understanding that we’re just looking at some minor amendments and adjustments to the maps; we’re not changing anything,” Kerr said. “So if it’s legal at this point it would be legal afterwards.”

The majority of council agreed and approved first, second and third reading of the bylaw and boundary adjustments with councillors Cornfield and Larry Samson opposed.