• Dr. Ian Mackenzie v. Regional Manager, Recreational Fisheries and Wildlife Programs, West Coast

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    Decision Date: January 12, 2015

    Panel: Linda Michaluk

    Keywords: Wildlife Act – s. 19; Closed Areas Regulation – s. 4; Permit Regulation – s. 5(1)(b); no shooting area; permit; bow hunting; wildlife management

    Dr. Ian Mackenzie appealed a decision issued by the Regional Manager, Recreational Fisheries and Wildlife Programs, West Coast Region, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”), denying his application to renew a permit to discharge a firearm or bow in a no shooting zone. Previously, Dr. Mackenzie held a permit to shoot Canada geese in the vicinity of the helipad at the Port Alice Health Centre. The geese, which are attracted to the grass surrounding the helipad, can be a safety hazard for helicopters. To control the geese, a wildlife management plan was created which includes habitat modification as well as chasing, scaring, and selectively killing the geese.

    The helipad is within 30 metres of residences, and therefore, is a no shooting area under section 4 and schedule 3 of the Closed Areas Regulation. In denying the permit, the Regional Manager cited safety concerns due to the helipad’s proximity to homes.

    Dr. Mackenzie appealed the Regional Managers’ decision to the Board. In his submissions on the appeal, he proposed that the permit exclude the use of a shotgun, and be limited to the use of a bow. He submitted that limiting the permit to bow hunting would address the safety concerns of Port Alice residents, while allowing the shooting element of the wildlife management plan to proceed.

    The Board found that public safety was a concern given the helipad’s proximity to homes, and that shooting the geese, either by shotgun or bow, is not required to maximize safety for helicopters. Information provided by Transport Canada and helicopter pilots indicated that geese will clear the helipad if helicopters approach slowly and hover over the helipad until the geese move. In addition, there was evidence that habitat modification may provide a long-term solution by making the area less attractive to geese, and the Village of Port Alice was willing to provide gravel for the area free of charge. Further, the evidence was that Dr. Mackenzie did not possess, and was unlikely to be able to obtain, a municipal permit to discharge a firearm or bow in the vicinity of the helipad. In these circumstances, the Board concluded that issuing a permit would be contrary to the proper management of wildlife resources, and therefore, inconsistent with section 5(1)(b) of the Permit Regulation.

    Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.