Four main issues argue for moving gun club out of park
Should a gun club shooting range be in a BC Park and protected area?
There has been good reporting in the Citizen about the problems regarding a shooting range in the Cowichan River Park, which issues have been continuing and growing in importance as we finally, after almost 20 years since the park was created, have a Park Use Strategic Planning process underway. http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/planning/mgmtplns/cowichan-river/
Comments from gun club members over the length of time the club has been in existence are a little misleading as to the issues today.
There are, I believe, four main issues:
The gun range was not in the park until 2004, when the property was transferred to BC Parks from BC Assets and Land Management, and a Park Use Permit was given to the gun club. At no time was there any public consultation on this process, or the appropriateness of such a move by parks as it was precedent setting — no other BC Park has a gun rage in it!
There has been recently documented contaminated soil at the range, revealed by an independent firm and they recommend remediation. This is not consistent with long term park use according to the BC Parks Act, to which UVic. Environmental Law society agrees very strongly (see our website www.protectcowichanriver.com) In addition we documented with photos that bullets have been, and are leaving the range, embedding in surrounding trees.
There is a strong issue of significant change of use in the property when it went from a small, true fish and game club who worked on many conservation based projects (I was a director) and occasionally used the range for hunting season sighting in, to become a large, 500-plus member, and growing, private gun club in the last five or so years. Parks never did revisit the Park Use Permit originally granted after this change.
Really this is, or should be, all about following the BC Park and Protected Area Act and regulations which are geared to wide and non-privatized recreational activity and ecosystem protection, none of which suggests gun firing ranges are appropriate in park settings.