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Ministry Orders Gun Club to Investigate Site Contamination

Elizabeth Nolan - Driftwood  | Published on Wednesday, March 4, 2015
 
ROD & GUN CLU B Ministry orders gun club to investigate site contamination
Report deadline
extension requested
BY ELIZABETH NOLAN
D R I F TWO O D S T A F F
 
The Salt Spring Rod and Gun Club
is asking for more time to submit a
site investigation report to the provincial
Ministry of Environment in
order to determine whether lead
contamination could be migrating to
a neighbouring property.
The board of directors is hoping
that by providing historical data itself,
it can convince the ministry to accept
a less-detailed report and therefore
less-expensive investigation than is
usually required. A two-stage report
could cost the organization up to
$30,000.
 
“At this point we’re still waiting to
hear back on the level of enforcement
that is to be imposed,” said John
Wiebe, who is a board of directors
member and has stepped up as the
ministry’s point-man on the issue.
According to the ministry, the
order to prepare the site investigation
report was issued on Feb. 12, with
a July 16 deadline for compliance.
At the centre of the issue is a heated
neighbour dispute that’s resulted in
lawsuits aimed at shutting the club
down.
 
The ministry has confirmed that
it became involved due to a neighbour
complaint made in 2013, after a
report prepared for Brian Milne and
Jean Barakett by Stantec Consulting
Ltd. located higher than acceptable
lead quantities in three out of 29 soil
samples taken on their Long Harbour
Road property.
 
“Due to the nature of the soil contaminants
and the relative locations
of the samples, the shooting range
located approximately northwest of
the property is considered the likely
source of the impacts,” the report
finds.
 
Water samples were also taken
from two wells, a pond and two
creeks. Concentrations of aluminum,
cobalt, copper and iron were higher
than acceptable in some or all of the
latter three samples.
 
“The migration of contamination
would be the main concern,” Wiebe
said. “That there is contamination
on the other property is a given. The
source of contamination is not a
given.”
 
The Stantec report includes historic
aerial photos as a record of site
development, and includes the title
holders dating back to a Crown grant
awarded to Kerry Mahon and Ross
Mahon in 1885. Rod and Gun Club
president John Foley said that one
thing noticeably missing from the
report is known history about the
property when it was owned by Vic
Jackson, who held title from 1948 to
1984.
 
“The only issue is whether contamination
is leaving our property,
which we’re quite confident it’s not,”
Foley said.
 
As recorded in the June 2014 judgement
on the B.C. Supreme Court case
Milne vs. the Salt Spring Island Rod
and Gun Club, Jackson donated use
of the adjoining land that became
the gun club property from 1959 to
1961, and allowed shooting to extend
over the property line after the club
bought its property in 1961.
The club’s two outdoor ranges were
aligned so that shooting continued to
go in its southeast neighbour’s direction.
This wasn’t changed until 1987,
when new owner Richard Krieger
complained about lead pellets falling
on his property.
Wiebe said he’s unaware of any
technology that could determine
how old the lead is that Stantec
located in 2013, but the source of
historic deposits is far from determined.
Clear-cut logging that took
place in 1932 and subsequent development
could also play a factor, he
said.
“So, it isn’t a clear-cut situation as
to whether it was ever shot, dumped
or otherwise came from the gun
club property,” he said.
 
The gun club was ordered to find
a way to collect spent bullets as part
of a limited injunction under the
supreme court judgement. Other
requirements included reducing
operating hours, soundproofing
ranges and extending side berms.