Wildlife Association Head, City Councillor Square Off
Prince George, B.C. – The President of the Spruce City Wildlife Association has spoken out against a Prince George City Councillor for raising fears about the safety of bow hunting within city limits.
SCWA President Jim Glaicar directed his comments to Councillor Brian Skakun during the association’s annual Wild Game Dinner and Fundraising Banquet at the Civic Centre Saturday night as two of Skakun’s council colleagues, Jillian Merrick and Susan Scott, sat in the audience.
Skakun has voiced concerns about bow hunting within city limits, stating in a 250 News article last November that “it has been a concern of mine and for a number of people in the community because it is a safety issue even though it’s legal.” He has expressed concerns about the possibility of a person being shot accidentally, saying “if there was an errant arrow and it did hurt someone the potential is there. It may be small but there is the potential.”
At Saturday night’s banquet Glaicar noted that people who engage in outdoor activities are “acutely aware” that they have to protect not only wildlife and habitat, but also the right of everyone to enjoy the outdoors “in a safe and responsible manner.” But he added that the way of life of some has been challenged by Skakun.
“He appears to have a personal agenda opposed to legal hunting activities,” says Glaicar “and is using his council position to lobby against legal hunting activities. More specifically, Councillor Skakun has taken issue with bow hunting within Prince George City Limits.” He said he was pleased to see Councillors Merrick and Scott on hand because “it is a sign of community leaders who are willing to listen and engage.” He added, “it is unfortunate that Councillor Skakun declined our invitation to attend.” Skakun tells 250 News that he had previously made other plans for Saturday night.
Glaicar noted that the City limits encompass 320 square kilometres and a population of 72,000. He also stated that there has never been a hunting-related accident in B.C. that involved bow hunting.
He says “Spruce City Wildlife recognizes the rights of all people to enjoy the outdoors in a safe and respectful manner. We are currently working with Silvertip Archers, the Prince George Rod and Gun Club and other likeminded stakeholders to develop a mapping system to ensure that all residents can safely enjoy the outdoors. This proposal will be taken to our city councillors for their review and support.”
Glaicar says “our way of life for decades in the north has been to spend time with our children, families and friends in the outdoors, through hiking, hunting, fishing, quading, horseback riding or other means. Our activities provide healthy organic meat, education and strong family ties while connecting us with the land. This is not something we simply do, this is who we are.”
He called on those in the audience “to ensure your voices are heard by the small minority of people who would take these opportunities away from our future generations.”
Councillor Skakun gives 250 News this reply to Glaicar’s comments:
“His accusation about me being opposed to legal hunting is untrue and uncalled for. I will also say I have guns, a Possession Only Permit and have had a Hunter number for over 35 years. I have never stated I am opposed to hunting other than bow hunting within City limits.”
Skakun continues “for him to go after me last night as he did was not a good move in my opinion since he has had many opportunities to call or email me, especially since City Council had already referred this issue to Administration for follow-up 3 months ago. That follow-up was to Administration for a report back, clarifying the defined boundaries for bow hunting within City limits, including trails and private property.”
“On November 19th (2015) I wrote SCWA to express my concerns about recent comments directed my way regarding Bow Hunting within City Limits. I also at the time expressed a willingness to meet Jim Glaicar, he responded and said he would meet me. I offered again to meet him to discuss these issues Dec 30th, 2015. He did not respond to my questions or request to meet.”
“This issue,” says Skakun “has gotten very personal and ugly in my opinion and that is unfortunate to say the least. I have not tabled any motions at City Council to ban bow hunting in City Limits and have lots of feedback, both for and against Bow Hunting in City Limits. If I wanted to pursue this issue and ban Bow Hunting in City Limits I would have brought a motion to City Council to try and get support for a ban a couple of years ago.”
Skakun concludes “if they want to come to City Council to make some recommendations regarding Bow Hunting in City limits I welcome that discussion as some of that work they are looking at is underway as we speak.”