July Bearspaw Beat - BASP review -Firearms' bylaw quashed
On June 6th, the County held its Open House launching the review of the Bearspaw Area Structure Plan. There were over 200 attendees, an inspiring number of people. I was really enthused to see that level of attendance – it’s a testament to how much the residents of this community care.
I understand that some residents were disappointed with the format because they had expected more detailed information. I can understand that. However, the goal of the open house was to provide basic background information and then encourage you to provide your feedback about your concerns/hopes for the community.
There was a feedback form handed out. It can also be found on the County’s website (www.rockyview.ca) under Bearspaw Area Structure Plan review. You have until July 31st to submit your responses. Please be sure to send it in, if you haven’t already done so. It asks the following questions: Where is your land? How much land do you have in the Plan area? What do you like about living in Bearspaw/Glendale? What about the Bearspaw/Glendale area could be improved? What is your vision for the future of Bearspaw/Glendale? What is your vision for your lands?
Your answers will help Administration create a number of development scenarios that will be presented at the next phase of the process, in early fall. Your participation is vital in creating a well-balanced document that reflects the desires of those who already live here. Please participate.
In late May, Council voted to rescind the firearms’ bylaw in a 5-4 decision. Support for its repeal came from Deputy Reeve Schule, Councillors Henn, Gautreau, McKylor and Kamachi. While I will not dispute that there could have been more education around the topic, to completely repeal the bylaw is something I do not believe is in the best interest of Rocky View’s more densely populated communities.
For a County that wants to become a specialized municipality, this Council’s inability to recognize that different areas require different rules and that one-size-fits-all regulations don’t work was disappointing. It is true that the bylaw needed some tweaking - it had parcels of land included that shouldn’t have been and it did not provide for any exceptions. However, those scenarios could have been re-evaluated during the public engagement sessions that Council had committed to providing this February – sessions that were never held.
The bylaw, at its most basic level, allowed for County enforcement officers to enforce firearms rules that they otherwise would not be allowed to enforce. In a County where one of the biggest complaints is a lack of enforcement presence, how could this be considered a negative? It was supported by our provincial government and Fish and Wildlife for that very reason – extra boots on the ground.
Wishing you a Happy Canada Day!