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CRD Rescinds Gun Club Amendments

Elizabeth Nolan - Driftwood  | Published on Wednesday, March 4, 2015
 
NOISE BYLAW
CRD rescinds gun club amendments
Court-mandated solution
deemed sufficient
BY ELIZABETH NOLAN
DRIFTWOOD STAFF
The Capital Regional District has rescinded
a proposed amendment to Salt Spring’s
noise bylaw that would have reduced hours
and limited the allowable decibels at the
Salt Spring Rod and Gun Club.
Directors voted unanimously to
rescind the amendment at the Sept. 10
district board, according to staff recommendations.
 
A staff report noted that a
number of sound mitigation requirements
were set out in the judgement
from a civil case brought against the
club by its neighbours Jean Barakett and
Brian Milne. In addition, the proposed
decibel limitation was unsatisfactory
to either party and would be difficult to
enforce.
 
“I’d just like to say, this has been a longstanding
issue, as the board members
know,” Salt Spring director Wayne McIntyre
said after the motion was opened to discussion.
“I’ve tallied that there’s probably, with all
the copies that have gone out, there’s been
tens of thousands of emails on this. It’s been
divisive for our community and very costly.”
 
During a delegation to the board, gun
club president John Foley referred to a petition
with 1,400 signatures opposing CRDimposed
restrictions, as well as close to 300
messages of support that were collected in
response to the CRD’s call for public input
on the amendment.
 
“I don’t think the community can speak
much louder,” Foley said.
Lisa Nichols, a representative from the
Victoria Fish and Game Protection Association,
also gave a presentation supporting
the club at the Sept. 10 meeting.
During his own delegation, Milne condemned
the CRD’s failure to enforce the
noise bylaw, and called the staff report
signed by Travis Whiting, Kevin Lorette and
CAO Robert Lapham both flawed and misleading.
“Mr. McIntyre and the [Electoral Area
Services] Committee have known since
2012 that no solution satisfying both sides
exists,” Milne said. “Mr. Lapham, Lorette
and Whiting have referenced the farcical
gun club petition and the biased 300 feedback
responses. They conclude the overall
community does not support the bylaw
amendment without a shred of reliable
documentation.”
 
CRD Board chair Alastair Bryson took a
different view, however, and thanked staff
for their response to public input.
“I think it’s a responsible one,” he said.
Terms of the limited injunction against
the club awarded to Milne by Justice Elliot
Myers require “reduced shooting hours
from what exists at present; soundproofing
the indoor range and adding a door or
doors; extending the side berms of the 100-
yard outdoor range; and a means to collect
spent lead from the ground.”
Foley stated during his presentation
that the club has now implemented most
of these requirements or is working on
doing so. Measures include limiting hours
for trap shooting and cowboy shooting
and drastically reducing the overall club
hours, adding a 600-pound muffler to
the big bore guns, and installing security
cameras to ensure members are following
the rules, and to help with trespassing
issues.
 
“The fact is we’ve planned these projects
for a while, but most of our time and effort
has been with lawsuits with the CRD and
with Barakett and Milne,” Foley said.
Juan de Fuca director Dave Hicks
expressed relief that the two parties would
now settle things according to the civil case
judgement.
 
“This has cost the taxpayers $45,000 so
far in legal fees. It’s cost the Juan de Fuca
taxpayers $9,500, which is a third more
than our whole crossing guard program.
So we’re sick and tired of this and we’re
happy to see it go back to the courts,” Hicks
said.
 
Though he joined in the unanimous
vote, Victoria councillor Ben Isitt said he
could foresee more problems arising in
the future, and suggested the club think
about relocation to the island’s more distant
south end as a long-term plan