Shooting range makes rural P.E.I. 'crappy place'

A new shooting range in central P.E.I. is upsetting neighbours.

A new shooting range in central P.E.I. is upsetting neighbours.

The Big Boot Gun Club opened Sunday in Millvale, to the surprise of some of its neighbours. Sharon Labchuk lives about a kilometre away from the range.

"The only sounds I ever hear around here, on a continual basis, are birdsong," Labchuk said. "Now I hear the sound of gunshot.

"On Sunday, it was all day long. All day. So the sound, the decibel factor, is inconsequential. It's the annoyance and nuisance factor that's a problem."

Angie MacDonald and her husband, Charlie, own the Big Boot, which is set up for handgun, shotgun and rifle-shooting enthusiasts. Angie says the couple thought the range was so far in the woods and removed from houses that noise wouldn't be a problem.

Rural Prince Edward Islanders have no rights, says Sharon Labchuk. ((Maggie Brown/CBC))

"I'm disappointed that they can hear it, but we have a lot of money invested in it," she said.

"I don't know of anywhere else we could go that would be accessible to get to and be far enough away from houses."

MacDonald said the range has all the required approvals and they don't plan on going anywhere. Millvale is an unincorporated area, so there is no community council or municipal bylaws regarding what people can or cannot do on their land.

Labchuk said she and her neighbours will try to fight the shooting range, but it will have to be at the provincial level.

"Looking to get legislation in the fall around these shooting ranges, definitely around noise pollution that's a big problem in rural P.E.I.," she said.

"It's becoming a really crappy place to live actually, rural P.E.I., because of noise and we have no protection whatsoever. We have no rights."

Labchuk said neighbours are also looking into the possibility of going to court to get the shooting stopped.