Trustees looking to add definition of shooting range to Land Use Bylaw
The Gabriola Local Trust Committee has requested staff add putting a definition of shooting range into the Gabriola Land Use Bylaw when it goes through the LUB later this term.
As part of this term, the Trust Committee is continuing the Official Community Plan review started last term, including bringing the language of the LUB closer in line with OCP policies.
At the Sept. 6 meeting last week, trustees considered the request made by neighbours of the Gabriola Rod, Gun and Conservation Club property to have the zoning of the club property reviewed as part of the OCP review.
Trustee Gisele Rudischer and Trustee Sheila Malcolmson said whatever the Trust did, the club would be grandfathered for it’s current operations.
Gisele said, “I feel we need to say something, that this is bad noise pollution. The OCP supports that.”
She pointed out that when the OCP was written in 1996, which included an allowance for the existing shooting range, “it was nowhere near the same as what’s going on there now.”
Sheila said the Trust “can’t change the zoning in any way that would have an effect unless it ceased to end operation for six months.
“I’m afraid [doing all this work] would not change the outcome at all and it will confuse people that the Trust Committee can’t prevent the impacts. This is an issue on Galiano and Salt Spring too.”
Gisele said the idea of putting the definition into the LUB isn’t about whether or not it has an impact on the current club.
“It is a statement this is an unacceptable use on Gabriola. That’s all I’m trying to accomplish, it is a statement.
“If we never change regulations because people are grandfathered, that doesn’t make sense either.”
Planner Chloe Fox’s recommendation was to add the work to the list of other LUB amendments. When that work is done, staff can explore what the definition would look like and would look to work with the neighbours, the club and the province (as property owner) in the meantime.
Paul Metcalfe, vice-president of GRGCC, was present at the meeting and spoke to the trustees.
“Are you aware that the nature of the shooting activity has changed to approximately its 1996 levels? Are you aware that every one of those letters is received from an individual who is named in a suit that is before the Supreme Court [in] Nanaimo? Has any request been made by the owner of the land [the province] for a rezoning? Have we been found in contravention of any noise bylaw, not withstanding the attempt to rejig the noise bylaw? Is it really appropriate to discuss rezoning while the matter is before the Supreme Court of BC or should the test be any court decision and negotiated solution? Does the Trust want to get involved before the outcome? Is Ms. Rudischer aware the suit concerns an injunction on the club, which would last for six months, which would be enough to remove our grandfather status? That last is the most important I have.”
Gisele said she anticipates any court case is going to be over well before the trustees get to look at the LUB definitions.
Sheila said she supports the idea of putting the definition work on the list of possible LUB work. “There hasn’t been solidity for the club or anyone around there.”
Gisele said she didn’t anticipate that any definition of shooting range “would be more restrictive than what was happening before.”
Sheila asked staff note that ”we are told the activities are grandfathered and that a change in zoning definition shouldn’t be expected to change the club’s activities.”