Edmonton

Residents convince county to shut down the Spruce Grove Gun Club

A controversial gun range in Parkland County will have to shut its gates next month because it’s too loud and too dangerous to be so close to homes, according to the subdivision and development appeal board.

Spruce Grove Gun Club must shut down by mid-November, after four decades in the area

Residents of Parkland County have fought to have the Spruce Grove Gun Club shut down for years. Cheryl Ball and Allan Gamble appealed the range's development permit on the grounds that the club is both noisy and dangerous. (Laura Osman/CBC News)

A controversial gun range in Parkland County will have to shut its gates next month because it's too loud and too dangerous to be so close to homes, according to the subdivision and development appeal board.

The Spruce Grove Gun Club has operated in the area for decades, but has become surrounded by homes over the last few years.

The appeal board struck down the club's latest development permit renewal after it heard an appeal by more than 100 nearby residents.

They told the board they live in fear of stray bullets, with the constant sound of gunfire ringing through their homes.

The board wrote that the residents' experience was the biggest factor in its decision to shut down the club.

"This evidence reflects their experiences and speaks directly to the impact that the noise has upon them," the written decision said.

A member of the Spruce Grove Gun Club practises pistol shooting. (Laura Osman/CBC)
Gun club spokesperson Bill Newton said the club is "dumbfounded" by the decision, since the club complied with everything the county has asked.

The club recently improved safety measures on the range by installing cameras and passcards, and implemented a noise monitoring system.

"We'd gone to incredible lengths and spent an awful lot of money to stay on top of that," Newton said.

The board said while "the risk of a stray bullet is low, the impact of that risk is high."

The range, which has operated in Parkland County since 1972, has 30 days to take the appeal board to court over the decision. Either way, it will likely have to shut down in mid-November when its existing development permit expires.

"We have over 900 members that now have to find another legal way to enjoy our sport," said Newton.

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