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Where can I shoot?

Proposed changes to Red Lake’s discharge of firearms by-law cause a stir

BY LINDSAY BRISCOE

Red Lake council decided at Monday’s regular council meeting to defer the proposed changes to the by-law which regulates the discharge of firearms and other weapons to allow the public a chance to come forward with any related concerns they may have.

Councillor Fred Mota and Councillor Jack Goodwillie both mentioned that as soon as people in the community caught wind that parts of the by-law might change, they were flooded with phone calls and messages from concerned citizens.

When people started looking at the proposed changes, they noted some other details of the-by-law that perhaps had not been clear in the past.

For example, even though the original by-law (adopted in 2002) has always restricted people from discharging a firearm or weapon within a kilometre of any commercial, industrial, or residential zones of Hwy 125, Hwy 618, and Hwy 105, people were not necessarily aware.

“People who are living on the outskirts of the Municipality, say down Hwy 105, people who have secluded, large acreage properties, they could not discharge a firearm within a kilometre of their home, without breaking the law. Now some people are saying they’d like to change that one kilometre to a different distance, something like 400 metres, for instance,” said Mota.

Lee Green, who owns and operates Sunset Stables on Hwy 105 within the Municipality of Red Lake, was present at Monday’s meeting.

“It impacts me because if I have to put down a horse that’s dying from a stroke, it has to happen right away otherwise the horse will go insane. We’ve had that happen three times here, but I wouldn’t be able to legally put the horse down,” she said in an interview. “Legally, I can’t teach archery here either and I’ve been doing that for 20 years.”

She said that even people who live in the townsites and travel to secluded areas within the Municipality of Red Lake that they probably assume to be legal hunting areas—such as down Nungesser Rd. or out by Bug River—may actually be breaking the by-law if they discharge firearms or other weapons there.

“Life out here is a little different. In the main areas of town you have to have those rules, but out in the outback there are a few things that have to be different. I got to talking with some of my neighbours and we decided it’s time to talk to the councillors and let them know that this has got to change. I went as the listening voice tonight,” she added.

The next Committee of the Whole will be held Dec. 14 at 12 p.m. Community members may form a delegation with two leaders in charge of bringing forward the concerns to council. The Municipality will also accept citizens’ concerns in writing prior to the meeting.

The current by-law and proposed new by-law can be viewed at www.redlake.ca and can be requested at the municipal office in Balmertown.

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