Feedback was swift and certain in the hours after “Neighbours aim to oust gun club from Cowichan park” was published in the Citizen and accompanying social media pages.
The bulk of readers, and there were more than 100 who commented, believed it’s a matter of who came first, the Cowichan Fish and Game Association or the park.
(It was the gun club.)
“Isn’t it interesting that people buy homes under the flight plan of an airport and then start complaining that planes are overhead, others buy next to farms and then want the smells associated with farms to be eliminated,” wrote Joy Hegglund on the Citizen’s website. “Isn’t it unfortunate that the residents complaining about the gun club didn’t notice that it was there before they bought property, unless of course they’ve been there since before 1937.”
Darci Duncan Bennett grew up near the club. She and others shared her thoughts on Facebook.
“That range has been around for many years. Please show your support by adding your comments to bc parks website!” she wrote “This is not something that should be phased out as it is a safe and secure area for law abiding gun owners to practice their art and skills.”
Chelsea Duncan agreed.
”Stop moving into our community and demanding change! It’s a safe and controlled gun range that has been here way longer then the park. I’d rather people shoot at the range then going out into the bush or mountain tops for target practice,” she wrote.
Ashley Harris recalled a similar situation.
“Always reminds me of the story a few years back of a woman buying a house across from a farmer’s field then complaining about the noise and stench when he went to lay his manure down,” she wrote. “REASEARCH your damn surroundings before buying a house. If you’re using the park and don’t feel safe? Then use one of the other hundreds of parks in the Valley. Get real! Leave the gun range that was there WAY BEFORE the park alone.”
Kurt Pyrch helps to run the Cowichan Fish and Game Association.
He claims the neighbourhood association’s leader, Bob Kopp, is a disgruntled ex-member.
“Bob Kopp never had a problem with the gun range, the small amount of noise from the activities, the environment, the permit from BC Parks or any of it until he left the Fish and Game Association in a childlike huff when the club didn’t want to do what he wanted it to,” Pyrch claimed.
“I am proud of the job we do there. I am proud of the quality facility we operate for the benefit of the community. I am proud of the countless volunteer hours put in by members to keep it working well. I am proud of the tens of thousands of dollars the CF&G donates back into the community. I am proud of the Horseshoe Group and every member of the Cowichan Fish and Game Association,” Pyrch said. “And I am justifiably offended by the selfish and self serving actions of a small minority of the local community.”
What do you think? Should the gun club be forced to leave its home of 81 years because the land it’s on was bought and made into a provincial park? Whatever your opinion, the province wants to hear from you.
Until June 30, people can provide their comments to BC Parks.