Monday, June 29, 2015

Proposed Bow Banning Bylaw May Miss Mark

The City of Langley has over 20 bylaws that can result in a fine from between $25 if your dog is not wearing a license, $100 for failing to remove snow from a sidewalk, all the way up to $1,000 if a dangerous dog chases, injures or bites a person.

Apparently the City of Langley has been getting complaints over the past year about people using bows and crossbows on residential properties in the municipality. In response, the City is looking at banning the use of bows.

The proposed bylaw simply states that “no person shall discharge a firearm or bow within the City.” Certain government officials are exempt from the proposed bylaw like police, animal control, and conservation officers. Discharging a firearm or bow is also allowed within the Agricultural Land Reserve under certain circumstances.

One of the interesting things about this bylaw is that is has a section about paintball guns being allows in “a licensed and insured facility designed for organized paintball games.”

Archery is also a sport, and under the City’s proposed bylaw, using a bow in an indoor or outdoor range would violate the proposed bylaw and result in a fine of $100 per day.

I did a quick search and found a CBC news story title “Penticton archer wants draw bows removed from firearms bylaw.

He and his son would like to grow that sport in that City. With the BC Winter Games coming to Penticton in 2016, if the City doesn’t update their bylaw, the BC Winter Games will run afoul of the Penticton bylaw.

One of the things that I’ve been noticing lately is that the City of Langley has being passing bylaws with overly broad prohibitions. For example, earlier this year I posted about how everyone who doesn’t wear a shirt in the sports box at Douglas Park, or swims in Al Anderson Pool, could be fined for break a City bylaw.

While using a bow is dangerous, further exemptions should be put into the bylaw, similar to the paintball exemption, to allow the use of a bow in a safe environment which would allow people to participate in the sport.


Dave Hall said...

Thanks for your input Nathan. This has come to Public Meeting tonight without any pre-consultation with Council as a staff stated "housekeeping" item. I will raise your concerns along with a questioning of the inclination to "ban" rather than regulate in a number of by-laws. As well, I have some concern regarding the conflict between this proposal and other zoning by-law provisions that would seem to be at odds as a previous argument had been that if something wasn't stated as "allowable", then it was prohibited. So why are some things banned and some things unstated, so not "allowable"???
Councillor Dave Hall

Nathan Pachal said...

Thanks for bringing this up!

Nathan Pachal said...

Let's hope that nerf arrows aren't part of the ban.

M.Sakai said...

Unfortunately, it's become fairly typical in many jurisdictions around the Lower Mainland (and elsewhere, I'm sure) that a small number of complaints by residents results in a "sledgehammer" policy to deal with what is, in actuality, a very minor issue. In my experience, many municipal policy makers do not spend enough time examining unintended consequences and long-term impacts -- they want to be seen as "actively responding to the concerns of their citizens". Which is fine, when dealing with the application of policies and regulations (dealing with noise concerns, for example), but when creating new policy, time for sober second thought is often very useful in avoiding other problems down the road.

Dave Hall said...

So the end result last night was that No one on Council would second a motion to have first/second reading and delay third until after questioning,debate and perhaps referral to the Public Safety Committee for recommendations. Council pressed on and a minor amendment that was suggested by this writer by e-mail to staff, mayor, and Council reflecting your expressed need for an authorization/exemption for approved recreational activities was plagiarized by another Councillor and did pass. The main motion, as flawed as I perceive it to be, passed with only me objecting. So now in effect is a bylaw that , with few exceptions, bans firearm and bow activities throughout the City based on what I learned to be 2 complaints. This heavy handed approach continues to prohibit any opportunity for indoor range/practice facilities in the City and adds to the list of prohibited activities that absurdly includes as well billiard/pool halls and auctions unless "grandfathered" prior to by-law adoption. The City did replace the ban on "methodone distribution and did pass business license regulations in concert with the College of Pharmacists. However, based on a single letter from the Downtown Merchants Association and a few anecdotal comments about "lingerers" outside pharmacies, the City is moving toward a zoning by-law that is intended to restrict the number of pharmacies through a "proximty" clause. So instead of addressing the "street" concerns, the City pushes forward on a zoning by-law that once again "grandfathers" existing pharmacies and discourages a fundamental element of true Capitalism--that being competition. Those that serve best the consumer should survive. A City that prides itself in being "open for business" through zoning, seemingly is intent on doing the opposite, ignoring both demand and demographics of the City. More to come next meeting.