Spencer Campbell practises target shooting on the 100-yard range at the Big Boot Shooting Range in South Granville. Neighbouring residents want to meet with provincial officials in an attempt to have legislation changed to shut the facility down. Guardian
A new shooting range opened in South Granville has people in the neighbouring community of Millvale seeking a change in legislation to have the range closed.
"We've lost enjoyment of our property," says Sharon Labchuk, who lives just a kilometre from the Big Boot Shooting Range.
Labchuk said the range has caused a lot of controversy since its recent opening.
She said the combination of noise, potential lead pollution in the groundwater from stray bullets as well as the fact the community was not approached for their opinion has herself and a number of her neighbours looking for answers from the provincial government.
"We've done a lot of research to get up to speed on the environmental concerns," she said. "It's not just noise."
Labchuk said the potential for groundwater poisoning from lead bullets is a major concern for her, however, as of now the Environment Department has no regulations for shooting ranges in P.E.I.
But Labchuk hopes to change that.
"Everywhere these ranges pop up the big concerns are noise and groundwater poisoning," Labchuk said, adding the next step for her is to meet with environment officials to discuss the issue further.
Likewise, she said a community meeting is hopefully going to take place in the near future.
"We need to come together as a community to plan a course of action," she said.
Labchuk stressed she, like many of her neighbours, live in Millvale because of the solitude and quiet.
The shooting range, according to her, has ruined that.
"They're a problem wherever they occur."
However, at this point not much can be done to close the range down.
As far as safety and noise pollution is concerned, co-owner of Big Boot Shooting Range Angie MacDonald said she and her husband Charles have been fully certified. She said a safety inspector from Edmonton visited the property prior to its opening, as did the provincial firearms officer.
"We followed everything they laid out for us to do," MacDonald said.
"We're approved. We did everything we could to make it as safe as possible. We even shopped around for land as far removed from people as we could."
She added this was why the community was never approached prior to the range opening.
"Being as far back as
we were in the woods, we didn't think it would be an issue."
MacDonald hopes the issue doesn't go any further, adding closure of the range would be a substantial financial setback.