“First” doesn’t mean it should remain
The Fish and Game Club pays only $2.60 per day for a permit to shoot guns in Cowichan River Park. They were here first… But so what?
A common misconception is that the “common law” applies, i.e., newcomers have to adapt to those who were there first. This is not the case. “A landowner does not retain vested rights when a neighbourhood changes — he must comport himself with the character of the neighbourhood as it evolves” (ref. Milne v Salt Spring Island Rod and Gun (SSIRG) Supreme Court of British Columbia, June 17, 2014). The common law defence was done away by statutory amendment to the Land Title Act in 1971.
Currently there are no standards established in Canada for shooting ranges to refer to when considering noise management. This is an issue that needs to be addressed, as noise complaints are becoming a more common occurrence that result in ranges being closed down.
The adjacent CVRD parks have recently been developed with many amenities and are family oriented with pavilions, equestrian facilities, washrooms, and picnic areas with barbecue facilities along with a wonderful children’s play facility. It is the gateway to the Trans Canada Trail, the Cowichan Riverside Park, and the river foot paths. More people are using these parks and trails, and visitor use is expected to triple in the next 10 years.
Shooting ranges are not a compatible use with the changing nature of the surrounding parks, trails and three nearby neighbourhoods. Who thinks it makes sense to allow the discharge of 2,000 kg of lead waste per year in our park? What about unleashing repeated 150 dB gun shots daily? Go to www.protectcowichanriver.com for objective information and the UVic report.