Gun club — let’s have more such anomalies
On the matter of the shooting range within Cowichan River Provincial Park: I have lived within earshot of the Cowichan Fish and Game Club’s shooting range for 20 years and support its continued presence within the provincial park.
I have heard and read that it represents a prohibited use, is harmful to the environment and a health and safety issue, none of which, in my opinion, should lead to removal at this time. The B.C. Parks director for this region has made it clear that parks bylaws do not prohibit a shooting range in a provincial park; Cowichan Provincial Park is used for many other recreational activities, from hiking and river-tubing to food-gathering and sport-fishing, all of which impact the environment and require costly management; as for health and safety, I much prefer knowing that shooting can be expected in a designated area and is therefore less likely to be encountered in gravel pits or on logging roads where I may be riding my bike or horse.
Last week the local paper described the shooting range as an “anomaly” — the only one allowed in any of B.C.’s 1,000 parks. A private recreational amenity available to enthusiasts and police forces from the community-at-large, built and maintained by users at no cost to the taxpayer — let’s have more such anomalies!
I do, however, acknowledge that for many neighbours noise is an issue and it is not answered adequately by the argument that the shooting range was here first, because the number of users and types of guns, not to mention residents, has increased over the years. While acknowledging that a group of residents has raised awareness of the problem, I don’t think they have any mandate to determine its outcome. The park is a provincial, not a local or regional, jurisdiction and the matter falls to BC Parks and their permitted occupant, the Cowichan Fish and Game Club, to be resolved. I, for one, look for fewer, rather more, prohibited uses of our parks and greater self-regulation by all users.