North Cowichan wants public input into a proposal to ban the use of guns on Mount Tzouhalem and the Stoney Hill Forest Reserve, areas where hiking and biking trails are becoming increasingly used, including the trails to Mount Tzouhalem’s most popular destination, “The Cross”, pictured. (File photo)

North Cowichan considers banning firearms in two busy park areas

Municipality concerned about conflicts between recreational users and hunters

North Cowichan’s new council is looking for public input on a proposal to disallow the firing of guns in the Mount Tzouhalem and the Stoney Hill Forest Reserve areas.

The decision was made at council’s meeting on Nov. 21 due to growing conflicts between the increasing number of hiking and recreational users in those areas and hunters who are allowed to hunt there under existing municipal bylaws.

North Cowichan’s parks, forestry and recreation departments are currently implementing the parks and trails master plan and, as part of this program, hiking and biking trails are being sanctioned on Mount Tzouhalem where hunting is currently allowed, creating a conflict between the two types of users of the area.

RELATED STORY: NEIGHBOURS AIM TO OUT GUN CLUB FROM COWICHAN PARK

According to a report to council from Shaun Mason, North Cowichan’s municipal forester, this conflict is expected to expand in upcoming years as the municipality proceeds with the mapping, sanctioning and signing of hiking, biking and equestrian trails in other portions of North Cowichan’s managed forest lands, including Mount Richards and Mount Prevost.

Mason said the municipality has also, through a new public road to Stoney Hill, allowed access to lands which previously were only accessed through private property.

“The Cowichan Valley Regional District has purchased lands and incorporated them into a regional park at Stoney Hill, complete with a parking lot, kiosk and washroom, which is an additional area where hunting is permitted; but in areas surrounding the park and not in it,” Mason said.

“As North Cowichan continues to enhance its forest reserve lands with new signage, expanded parking and additional amenities, the number of users will continue to increase, creating more opportunities for conflict between hunters and other recreation users.”

RELATED STORY: CITIZENS AIM TO PROTECT MUNICIPAL FOREST RESERVE FROM LOGGING

Mason said conservation officer Scott Norris provided input to the discussion and noted that Norris recognizes the importance of having areas available for people to hunt in North Cowichan.

However, Mason said that Norris also recognizes that the public heavily uses Mount Tzouhalem and Stoney Hill for recreation and didn’t feel that hunting was an appropriate activity within these two specific areas.

The Mount Tzouhalem area was estimated to have had approximately 80,000 visitors in 2017, and the Stoney Hill Regional Park had about 35,000 last year.

“Currently, hunting within these areas is minimal and does have safety concerns,” Mason said.

“Mr. Norris suggested that these areas should be considered for removal from the firearm discharge zone, and highlighted that hunting opportunities will still be available at other municipal properties.”

It’s expected that the public will be invited to provide input into this proposal in the coming months.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Ladysmith chasing basketball glory

LSS junior boys off to BC’s, school hosting senior boys AA Island championships this weekend

Ladysmith Secondary steps up for the homeless

Students pack 150 hygiene kits for extreme weather shelter and Soap For Hope program

Volunteers provide Ladysmith Secondary with 600 cookies

Oceanview church spearheads a tasty way to show the love on Valentines Day

Taking Ladysmith’s heritage to the streets

Recounting the Boer War legends behind the original city street names

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read