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February 13, 2013

Hunting Committee draws flak from some residents

WEST NEWBURY — A committee tasked with developing a potential hunting policy for town land will continue meeting despite feedback from some residents that they preferred it wouldn’t.

At a meeting last Wednesday, selectmen announced that Jamus Driscoll, the member of the newly formed Hunting Committee who initially approached the board about developing a policy to govern bow hunting in town, will no longer be on the committee because he has accepted a job in Munich, Germany.

With the five-member committee now reduced to three, selectmen asked member Chris Trim if he felt the panel could continue with its task. Trim said he did, but it needed more than just three members to do the research required into hunting policies in other towns.

When Rodney Chadwick stood up in the back of the room and volunteered to serve, he was appointed without discussion by two votes from Selectmen Bert Knowles and Glenn Kemper. Their colleague, Dick Cushing — the only selectman to vote against seating the committee to begin with — abstained.

Chadwick offered that he thinks the policy adopted by the town of Andover would be a good model for West Newbury. Along with Trim and Chadwick, Steve Forrest and Jennifer Germaine also serve on the panel. All members are hunters and Germaine is also a member of the Open Space Committee.

Kemper stressed that he didn’t know how he was going to vote on any proposed policy but believed it was a discussion selectmen should have. He thought having non-hunters on the committee could be counterproductive because the process could get bogged down with a debate over the merits of hunting vs. non-hunting.

Once the committee makes its recommendation, he envisions holding public forums, then having selectmen debate and vote the issue, he said. Trim added that a period for public comment would be part of the agenda at all the committee’s meetings throughout the process.

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