People shoot holes in rule
New Ingraham Trail regs annoy residents and Dene

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (NOV 06/96) - New shooting regulations along the Ingraham Trail went into effect recently, but some residents say their concerns about saftey were ignored.

Sandy Holmes, a resident of the Ingraham Trail, said the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) didn't listen to any of the concerns brought forward in a series of public meetings in Yellowknife, Dettah and Ndilo.

"They went ahead and did what they were going to do in the first place," he said. "Now we'll have to live with it."

Shooting is now prohibited within 1.5 kilometres of the Ingraham Trail from the Yellowknife River to the eastern end of Prelude Lake.

The no-shooting regulations in the Pickerel Lake, Peninsula Lake and Tibbit Lake areas no longer apply.

Holmes takes comfort in the fact that the legislation can be changed.

"Fortunately, it's only a regulation and regulations can be changed," he said.

Chief Jonas Sangris of the Yellowknives Dene is also opposed to the new legislation.

"We've told them that we're not happy with it," he said. "It's like blowing in the wind."

Sangris predicts the Dene won't even follow the regulation because they have already given up areas where they can hunt, and aren't prepared to make any more compromises.

"We've already lost land without compensation," he said. "So I'm not going to tell my people where to shoot or where not to shoot. They already use their common sense."

Sangris said it hasn't been an issue for the Dene since a 1995 court case when a judge ruled that no-shooting regulations didn't apply to aboriginal Benoit Noel.

"We've dealt with the court case, and people see it as a closed issue," he said.

A number of alternatives were presented to MACA, including the discharge of shotguns only in the Pickerel, Peninsula and Tibbit Lake areas, the creation of no-shooting areas with three or more cabins, and the enforcement of the previous regulations for non-aboriginals.

But Richard Ashton, director of community planning and lands, said in a letter to those affected by the changes that MACA wasn't convinced of the logic of those arguments. They went ahead with the original proposal.

Holmes said the issue won't likely die with the new legislation. He expects the government will have to re-examine the regulation, but is worried that it will be too late by that time.

"If someone gets shot, then they'll look at it again," he said.