Land Values Threaten Gun Ranges
We are all aware that gun laws are under attack in this country but not many are aware that gun ranges are also under attack. Encroaching development and the resulting land value increases are the forces leading the assault.
The Salt Spring Island Rod and Gun Club (SSIR&G) is a small club putting up a big fight in this battle which will end up affecting all gun clubs in BC and across Canada. A litigious, wealthy, real estate speculator purchased property next to the Club and for four years, in an effort to stop Club activities, has filed multiple lawsuits and injunction attempts involving the Club, the Regional District and/or individuals. He has been instrumental in pressuring local government to close the club via noise bylaws and influenced the Ministry of Environment to force the club to do extensive and expensive testing; all in an effort to stop the activities the small 103 year old club. Last but not least he filed a personal pollution trespass lawsuit against all the Club directors, insurance does not cover pollution based lawsuits. Considerable environmental testing has shown that there is no migration of lead from the property.
The good news is that the Club is still active and the Club’s fight has already set a relevant legal precedent. The BC Supreme Court has ruled that if you are properly zoned for what you do you cannot, by conflicting bylaw, be prohibited from using your property as zoned. In other words, you cannot be bylawed out of business. This is a major victory in light of the many gun clubs that have been noise bylawed out of business.
Another resulting breakthrough, due largely to efforts by the British Columbia Wildlife Federation (BCWF), is that the Ministry of Environment (MOE) has changed the wording in their Contaminated Sites Regulation such that just because hazardous waste is on a property it does not automatically mean the property is designated a Hazardous Waste Site. This ‘uncoupling’ will likely result in other gun clubs not having to endure the extensive and expensive testing that the Salt Spring Island club has been subject to.
This has been a costly battle for the Club-over $400K in environmental study and legal costs. Support for the Club has run very deep in the community but even with a membership that has grown from about 60 to around 200, the Club has had to mortgage its property and borrow extensively.
We need your help. BCWF has joined forces with SSIR&G to support the development and preservation of gun clubs and have set up a link so you can make a tax deductible donation to the SSIR&G. Follow link
In “Designation” drop box pick, Salt Spring Island Rod & Gun Club and please help us.
It’s time we make a stand together
John Foley President Salt Spring Island Rod and Gun Club Phone 250-537-0083 Cell 250-537-7983