‘Granville “Big Boot Gun Club” shooting range. Will amalgamation of the land enable by-laws to ban shooting range, or will IRAC ruling still apply?’
Although the “amalgamation” question remains, the gun range has agreed to make the following changes:
- range will close by 7:00pm at the latest
- only small caliber guns (.22) and hand guns will be fired on Sundays
- if the RCMP is using the range for special training that requires use outside and of rules then the public will be notified ahead of time (e.g. low light shooting later than 7:00pm)
Thank you to gun range management for making these changes.
- Range does not open until 10am (although regulations allow it to be open 24/7)
Shooting is allowed to continue until dusk. There are no plans to put a hard closure time as many members like to use the evenings to get in shooting time after work.
- Sometimes RCMP shoot after dark with appropriate permission from their CFO. This is necessary to practice low-light shooting (semi-darkness).
- Sometimes there are periods when shooting is heavier than others. For example in the two weeks prior to June 27, 2016 the RCMP were holding training exercises.
- Generally an effort is made to schedule any heavy shooting periods (like RCMP training) in the fall, away from the summer tourist season. Approximately 15-20 days per year may include exceptions for RCMP usage outside of normal operating hours.
- Any exceptions made for the RCMP to shoot outside of normal operating hours are communicated to the surrounding community through flyers/signage posted at community areas like the Trout River Park, Hunter River post office, and Millvale Road community mailboxes.
- The range is closed on Mondays, but there are some exceptions. For example, Monday June 27, 2016 was a day when RCMP did a training exercise, including low-light shooting into the evening.
- Shooting range sheds are in use in an effort to help reduce noise.
- The range is for members only, and all members must be licensed shooters. Rules are in place restricting any visitors from the range – and these are strictly enforced.
- The range owners visit the site often and enforce rules. Also there are members who are qualified “range officers”, who are appointed with special privileges and enforce the rules of the range.
- The gun range is always closed on Remembrance Day, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, and other holidays. Any reference to shooting on these days – like that made by Sharon Labchuk in the emails threads below in this post, is NOT from the gun range.
- No assault weapons are used at the gun range – the references to “assault weapons” by Sharon Labchuck in her email threads below in this post are incorrect. Perhaps multiple people shooting together give the perception of semi-automatic or automatic weapons being fired.
References / History
- Oct 25, 2016: Spoke with range owner and it was confirmed that exceptions are sometimes made for RCMP shooting and this was the case for the recent morning shooting. The community was (and will always be) notified by flyers/signs placed at community locations like the Trout River Park, Hunter River post office, Millvale Road community mailbox. Any complaints should be directed to the RCMP, not the gun range owners.
- Oct 4, 2016, Oct 21, 2016: Complaints about shooting in morning prior to 10am (7:30am and 8:40am respectively). It was found that the RCMP are the group doing the shooting outside of normal hours, with permission.
- Email from Sharon Labchuk – use state of the art sound abatement construction
From: Sharon Labchuk <firstname.lastname@example.org> Friday – July 24, 2015 1:06 PM To: email@example.com Subject: R C M P g u n r a n g e c o n f l i c t a n d r e s o l u t i o n i n B C
An article about conflict between residents, a university and an RCMP outdoor gun range in BC.The RCMP is dealing with the problem by building an indoor range with state of the art sound abatement construction.
- September 17, 2015 at 8:15am (started at 7:45am)- Video of gunshots as heard just south of intersection of Millvale Road and Trout River Road (~3.5 km away as the crow flies)
- September 8, 2015 (afternoon) – Minister Robert Mitchell visit to Shooting Range (entrance)
- In area where concerned residents live on Millvale Road gun shots were audible, but very faint
- At entrance to shooting range gun shots were clearly audible
- Unless a concerted effort – e.g. via petition – is undertaken by a large number of residents Minister does not plan to pursue issue
- July 7, 2015 – Email to Minister of Communities, Land and Environment Robert Mitchell
Bradley Trivers Tuesday – July 7, 2015 3:01 PM To: Robert Mitchell CC: Peter Bevan-Baker Subject: D i s t r i c t 1 8 – S h o o t i n g R a n g e Attachments: Bradley Trivers.vcf (1 KB) View Import to ContactsHello,Just wanted to give you a heads up that I am working with several constituents to help find a solution for their issues with the shooting range in South Granville / Millvale in District 18. Peter also attended a meeting with some of the residents last night.The plan is to table a petition that shows community support for changes, and then hopefully engage your department to determine what solutions might be feasible.I’d like to extend an invitation to you to experience the constituents concerns first-hand, by visiting the shooting range, and properties near the shooting range.Thanks,Brad
- July 6, 2015 – Meeting with 8 concerned residents at 4520 Millvale Road (Labchuk residence)
- June 24, 2015 – Late use of range reported to RCMP by Sharon Labchuk
“Tonight we reported the gun range to the RCMP for firing at 9:52 pm. Federal law prohibits firing guns one-half hour after sunset, which was 9:08 pm tonight. This isn’t the first time we’ve reported them for breaking the law by shooting in the dark.
- June 18, 2015 – Email with Request for Meeting – meeting was held
From: Sharon Labchuk <firstname.lastname@example.org> Thursday – June 18, 2015 9:53 AM To: email@example.com CC: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: r e q u e s t f o r m e e t i n g
Some of the residents of Millvale and South Granville would like to meet with you re the gun range in our community and how it is impacting our quality of life. Today is yet another day when, in my partially underground and well-insulated house with all the windows closed, and located 1 kilometre as the crow flies from the gun range, I was rudely awakened at 7:30 a.m. by the sound of assault weapons.
We want the gun range closed as our ultimate objective but in the interim we want to talk to you about limiting its opening hours, which are completely unrestricted now except that without lighting, as per federal regulations, guns cannot be fired more than one half hour before sunrise and one half hour after sunset. We hear assault weapons any day of the week, including on Christmas Day and other holidays. We also want noise mitigation measures implemented, standard procedure at many outdoor gun ranges.
We met with Janice Sherry last year in her capacity as both justice and environment minister to discuss a number of issues, including noise, lead contamination of soil and groundwater, and the poisoning of wildlife from lead shot. She pretty much blew us off.
To accommodate the working schedules of some residents, an evening meeting on any day except Tuesday and Friday would be ideal. We would host it at one of our homes.
Thanks for your consideration,
Some background on the gun range:
In 2010 residents heard noise that we later identified as guns. I called the Department of Environment to find out what was going on, only to learn DoE staff had no idea. The province’s Chief Firearms Officer at the Department of Justice, who had no experience overseeing the opening of a gun range in PEI, did not inform the DoE that this range had applied for a federal permit for the gun range design. To operate legally, the gun range requires a permit from the federal government for the gun range design as well as a development permit from the province, which would entail an environmental assessment and, at the minister’s discretion, public hearings. The gun range was ordered closed by the province. In talking to DoE staff I learned they also had no experience permitting a gun range and had no idea that lead contamination of soil, water and air is a serious concern and a major factor in the decision-making process not only in Canada but in every other industrialized country.
The DoE went from not even knowing the gun range had opened to permitting it, all within a few days. Environment Minister Richard Brown simply rubber stamped it without any input from residents and a proper environmental assessment. In some other jurisdictions citizen opposition and environmental regulations have held up the opening of gun ranges, if they are even allowed to operate, for years.
The gun range is sited in what must be the most inappropriate location in all of PEI, according to the RCMP document “Shooting Ranges and Sound”. It is the RCMP who administer the Canada Firearms Program, in conjunction with the provincial Chief Firearms Officers, and specify the safety aspects of gun range design.
Following are three excerpts from this RCMP publication. This document shows that gun noise can travel long distances and that gun noise is amplified when it originates from the top of a high hill. The Big Boot gun range is located on top of one of the highest hills in PEI and is surrounded by valleys – a “location to avoid”, according to the RCMP document. The people who seem to experience the loudest and most bothersome gun noise are those on the Millvale Road at the top of a high hill, separated from the shooters by a valley.
- 4.2 PLANNING FOR SHOOTING RANGES
- 4.2.1 Outdoor Ranges
- Consider Receivers Up to 3 km Distant
- Considering the nature of the noise source, directivity, topography and climatic conditions, receivers (particularly residences) as far as 1 to 3 km away may be affected, especially downrange.
- Locations to Avoid
- Several types of topography should be avoided, as they either help the propagation of sound or make it inherently difficult to provide noise controls. Noise control is particularly difficult when a shooting range is located near water (i.e. water between the source and receiver), bare rocks or large paved surfaces. As previously mentioned, sound propagates very well over a large valley, particularly if the shooter is aimed over
- the valley.
- 5.3 PRACTICAL MEASURES OF NOISE CONTROL
- This section summarizes in point-form the practical measures to take for noise control in outdoor and indoor shooting ranges.
- 5.3.1 Outdoor Shooting Ranges
- Range should be located facing a natural high hill.
- An excerpt from the Executive Summary:
- “Shooting Ranges and Sound” is a document intended for those people not trained in
- acoustics, who would like to gain an understanding of the propagation and control of
- sound and firearm noise. Such persons might be involved in the planning, construction
- or regulation of a shooting range in development or re-development.
We have appealed to both Doug Currie and Janice Sherry as ministers responsible for justice and environment with no accommodation whatsoever for our concerns. Richard Brown, as environment minister, promised he would bring in noise legislation to cover unincorporated communities but he never did.
We also have community safety concerns. One of the ranges at the gun range was closed down by the RCMP in the summer of 2014 when several people on nearby properties experienced bullets zinging by their heads. A Stanley Bridge woman who owns forested land adjacent to the gun range was walking the woods to scatter her husband’s ashes when she was forced to drop to the ground as bullets leaving the gun range flew by her. On two other occasions, people walking her land, including with small children, experienced bullets flying by.
Weapons used at the gun range are capable of sending bullets several kilometres away. The gun range is the crudest and most basic allowed under the regulations. It’s simply a dirt pit bordered by dirt berms. The RCMP ordered higher berms, after we were told at the outset by the province’s firearms officer and the gun range owners that the range was safe and complied with all regulations. We fear for our safety, especially given most of the weapons we hear are assault weapons, identified by their semi-automatic reporting. A small change in the angle of the gun can easily send bullets over the berms. Children of any age may fire these weapons at this gun range as long as a supervisor is nearby,
- CBC – Nov 3, 2010 – Shooting range owner defends business
- CBC – Nov 2, 2010 – Shooting range ‘rubber stamped,’ residents complain
- The Guardian – June 28, 2010 – Millvale residents to appeal shooting range permit
- Justice Laws Website – March 24, 1998 – Shooting Clubs and Shooting Ranges Regulations