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CRD Writes New Gun Noise Policy

Elizabeth Nolan - Driftwood  | Published on Wednesday, March 4, 2015
 
NOISE COMPLA INTS
 
CRD writes new gun noise policy
Bylaw officers get
specific instructions for
Salt Spring-only situation
BY ELIZABETH NOLAN
D R I F TWO O D S T A F F
 
Capital Regional District bylaw
officers are set to have policy written
specifically to deal with complaints
stemming from the Salt Spring Rod
and Gun Club.
 
The Electoral Area Services Committee
approved adopting the policy
at its Jan. 21 meeting. It must still be
approved at the CRD board level on
Feb. 11.
 
According to a staff report presented
as background to the issue, the
CRD is currently involved in three
court cases with a gun club neighbour
and has been asked additionally
to provide compensation for noise
disturbance. The gun club has itself
been taken to court and has reduced
its hours to five hours of trap shooting
per week at its outdoor range as
a result.
 
“Even with the drastic reduction
in allowable hours, the CRD continues
to receive almost daily correspondence
from the neighbours
on this file, much of it targeted at
specific people, calling into question
the integrity, competence and judgement
of staff and elected officials,”
the staff report states.
“ln order to assist staff in dealing
with ongoing repeated complaints
that in some instances are
of a harassing nature and to provide
a limit to the ongoing, escalating
costs to the electoral areas, a clear
enforcement policy specific to this
file has been implemented.”
In response to the barrage of complaints,
much of which stems from
a few individuals, the CRD recently
sent a letter from legal counsel to
gun club neighbours regarding the
new policy. The letter also denies the
possibility of compensation, stating
the CRD is not the source of the
noise.
 
Included in the guidelines is that
bylaw enforcement will not investigate
complaints of gun noise
heard between the hours of 9 a.m.
and sunset, which has been ruled
acceptable by a Supreme Court
judge. Under the recommendations,
complaints of noise made outside
those hours will be logged but not
necessarily investigated.
“The gun club may not be issued a
ticket if, in the opinion of the chief
bylaw enforcement officer and/or
the senior manager of protective
services, the gun club is continuing
to monitor the facility and membership
to ensure adherence to the
bylaw and appears to be making
sufficiently reasonable efforts to
ensure no shooting occurs outside
the hours not prohibited by the
noise bylaw,” the policy document
states.
 
lf determined appropriate, a bylaw
officer will be assigned to complaints
of noise occurring outside
the accepted hours. The investigating
officer will decide, in consultation
with the senior CRD staff, if it
is appropriate to issue a ticket or
whether to recommend another
enforcement response. Bylaw officers
are not to respond directly to
any correspondence without approval.
 
The CRD staff report points out
that the gun club appears to be
working to adhere to the noise bylaw
and hold its members accountable
by installing surveillance cameras.
Bylaw officers will step in only if a
pattern on noncompliance seems to
resurface.