Hunt­ing de­ci­sion panned

Saugeen Con­ser­va­tion asked to review de­ci­sion to al­low some hunt­ing at Saugeen Bluffs

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - NEWS - DON CROSBY

The de­ci­sion ear­lier this year to al­low bow hunt­ing in Saugeen Bluffs was seen as a “good com­pro­mise” by mem­bers of the Saugeen Con­ser­va­tion board, in­clud­ing chair Luke Char­bon­neau. But the move has met with crit­i­cism and a call for its re­viewed by the author­ity.

“Frankly we al­low peo­ple and hunters onto vir­tu­ally all of our prop­er­ties; we have trails through most of our prop­er­ties and al­low hunt­ing on most of our prop­er­ties. It’s not as though the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween peo­ple and hunters is un­usual on SVCA lands,” Char­bon­neau said.

At a re­cent meet­ing of the SVCA board of di­rec­tors, Ar­ran-Elder­slie Deputy-mayor Mark Davis told di­rec­tors that he’s op­posed to any form of hunt­ing on the Saugeen Bluffs prop­erty, north of Pais­ley.

“It’s a horse camp­ground, peo­ple camp­ground and in the win­ter peo­ple are in there us­ing the trails and cross coun­try ski­ing. You just don’t want hunters and camp­grounds in the same po­si­tion. It’s just un­heard of,” he said.

The de­ci­sion to al­low hunt­ing was nar­rowly ap­proved by the con­ser­va­tion’s board of di­rec­tors in March.

Char­bon­neau noted that the author­ity has al­ways al­lowed hunt­ing in Saugeen Bluffs, ex­cept for a brief pe­riod af­ter the 2016 des­ig­na­tion of the park as a fam­ily horse camp­ing venue.

But Davis said there is no staff in the Saugeen Bluffs camp­ground in the win­ter and there is no fenc­ing; the area is wide open.

“On a nice week in March break there are lots of peo­ple cross coun­try ski­ing back there,” he said.

Davis said his spouse is a horse en­thu­si­ast who, along with some neigh­bours, are alarmed at the de­ci­sion to al­low hunt­ing.

“These are peo­ple that un­der­stand outdoors and the uses it should have. It just makes no sense. Why would you ever err to some­thing bad that could hap­pen?”

Char­bon­neau ac­knowl­edged that the ad­di­tion of the camp­ground is a unique thing to for bluffs, but hunt­ing is some­thing that has gone on since time im­memo­rial in that area, ex­cept in the last two years when all hunt­ing was banned from Saugeen Bluffs af­ter the park be­came a fam­ily and horse rid­ing camp­ground in 2016.

He still thinks there is room for com­pro­mise among users.

“I think it’s fine. Who knows, the author­ity might change its mind,” Char­bon­neau said.

Davis’s re­quest to review the de­ci­sion is set for dis­cus­sion at the author­ity’s next board meet­ing later this year.

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