Grimsby Town Council unanimously voted Wednesday to rescind a recently enacted bylaw that prohibited the use of bows in town limits restoring an old bylaw that allows their use.
It is a temporary measure until the town can host a public consultation in January so that it can create a regulation that better considers resident feedback. The town wants input from stakeholders like farmers, wildlife management, and hunter associations before creating yet another bylaw that takes into consideration bow use for agricultural use and possibly for hunting.
The regulation called the Discharge of Firearms and Bows By-law was enacted Aug .19. It prohibited the use of bows within town limits. That stopped farmers from using a bow as a tool to kill deer, which is a threat to crops, and coyotes which can attack livestock.
“Until the Discharge of Firearms By-Law No. 20-62 was passed by Council to prohibit the use of bows in the town, bows were not regulated under the by-law and therefore considered to be a permitted use,” said a town memo from municipal by-law officer Geoff Stephenson.
Councillor Dave Sharpe, who called for the anti-bow regulation to be rolled back, said: “I am pleased that we rescinded the new Firearms and Bows Bylaw. I found the re-written bylaw was overly restrictive, especially considering that two-thirds of Grimsby’s land area is on the escarpment and quite rural.”
On Nov. 17, town staff held an initial public consultation on bow usage. There were 55 attendees and 21 speakers at the event, which as well attended and described in a town memo as “at times passionate”.
Sharpe had advocated for a delay on the summer vote until the November meeting could be held, but council chose to ignore his request.
Sharpe is not a hunter or farmer and he does not use a bow. However, after attending the stakeholder meeting he realized the anti-bow bylaw needed to be changed. “They had a lot of rational ideas that we never would have thought of. That’s why I wanted to hear from them first and after hearing from them we are going to rescind the bylaw.”
Last night’s adjusted regulation specifies bow use still be illegal in the north part of Grimsby primarily the densely populated areas below the escarpment, with the exception of a section of land west of Casablanca, which has a low density and is largely agricultural land.
“They’re mostly fruit tree farms. One of the delegates spoke about deer bucks during marking season rub their antlers against trees and they can really damage fruit trees,” said Sharpe.