Rod, Gun and Conservation Club files response to neighbours’ civil suit
This past Friday July 13, 2012, the lawyer for the Gabriola Rod, Gun and Conservation Club filed a response to the civil claim filed against the Club June 8, 2012 by neighbours of the Club.
Through the response, the Club states that it does not consent to and opposes the granting of the relief sought in the original suit.
The Club directors are named as Ken Decarle, Bob Lake, Paul Metcalfe, Martin Nichols, Bruce Taylor, David Johanson and John Back.
The fourteen plaintiffs in the June 8 suit sought both an interim and permanent injunction against the discharging or firing of any firearms on any of the Club property.
The suit also sought an injunction against the carrying on of any event where the purpose is to discharge or fire any firearms (as defined in section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada) on the Club property or adjoining lands.
In the response, the Club states that at all times material to the civil action, the activities undertaken by the GRGCC on the property were lawful.
It also points to the alteration of the lands done by Centre Stage Holdings (one of the plaintiffs in the original suit) as a contributing factor in any perceived increase in noise volume experienced by the plaintiffs.
The timeline set out by the club shows the club leased the GRGCC property from the province initially in 1977 and in 1987 renewed the lease for a term of thirty years.
Around 1995, according to the response, the Plaintiff Centre Stage Holdings (Centre Stage) became the registered owner of the lands described in the suit filed by neighbours of the Club as Section 8 and Section 3 lands. These lands abut the southern boundary of the GRGCC property.
In 2009, the GRGCC renewed the lease of the property for another thirty years.
As part of their defense, the Club points out that between 2006 and 2007, Centre Stage removed a significant number of trees from the Section 8 lands that acted as a natural sound barrier between the Section 8 lands and the Club property.
Of note, in the 2005 subdivision approval from the Islands Trust, covenants on the Centre Stage properties did require buffer areas be maintained for noise, but the property line between the Club and Centre Stage properties was not one of the areas included.
The club adds that at the same time, Centre Stage offered a free membership in the GRGCC as an inducement to prospective purchasers of lots from the Section 8 lands and/or otherwise represented the Club as a beneficial neighbourhood amenity.
The Club states that at all times material to the action, the Club has operated a recreational shooting facility, teaching facility, youth club for members and training facility for local law enforcement on the property.
They deny there has been any significant increase in the membership of the club and/or a recent expansion of the facility and use thereof.
The Club denies that the Plaintiffs have suffered any damage or loss and puts the Plaintiffs to the strict proof of any loss, costs or expenses incurred arising out of the allegations in the within action.
Any loss or damage suffered by the Plaintiffs is speculative and/or too remote and the Plaintiffs have failed to take any steps to mitigate those losses.
If the Plaintiffs have suffered loss (which is not admitted) the Club states the Plaintiffs and in particular Centre Stage, caused and contributed to those losses by altering the landscape and sound scope and therefore are liable for its own loss in whole or in part, as the Club points out, through the BC Negligence Act.