Hunting may be legal in West Island park, but residents worry about public safety
Residents, mayor want hunting banned in L’Anse-à-l’Orme nature park
The return of deer hunting season has some residents of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue feeling nervous.
Hunting is legal on the island of Montreal, and some hunters have taken to stalking deer in L'Anse-à-l'Orme nature park.
Residents near the park refer to the hunters as poachers, but Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa says there's nothing illegal about it.
"Technically speaking, these people can go into the forest, in a populated area, and hunt and there's nothing Faune Québec can do about it," she said, referring to the province's Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.
Lobbying for years with no success
Hawa's said the best she's been able to do is impose a bylaw making it illegal to use guns or bows and arrows within 2,000 metres of a building.
However, enforcing that bylaw during hunting season, which is regulated by the province, is difficult.
"I've been asking for years, both Montreal and Faune Québec please take a look at it, and fix it," she said.
"You've got two laws, that [do not] even overlap onto each other, but that leaves a gap."
Kids, dog walkers use the park
Residents also worry that legal gap is putting people's lives in danger.
"Kids do come in the woods, people do go and walk their dogs there, and they walk in the area all the time," said Johanne Brun.
"The fact that there's a hunter poaching and seeing something move, you'd be afraid of them pulling the trigger."
Brun said hunting in the park should be illegal, a view that Hawa supports.
She hopes the province will ban hunting on the island soon.
With files from CBC's Navneet Pall