PEI

Shooting range owner defends business

The owner of a shooting range in central P.E.I. defended her business at a public hearing Wednesday, saying she had obtained all of the necessary permissions for it.
Angie MacDonald, who owns the Big Boot Gun Club, defended her business at a public hearing on Wednesday. ((CBC))
The owner of a shooting range in central P.E.I. defended her business at a public hearing Wednesday, saying she had obtained all of the necessary permissions before opening it.

Angie MacDonald, owner of the Big Boot Gun Club, spoke at an Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) hearing and for the first time addressed the neighbours who oppose the South Granville shooting range.

She said she opened the business in June and was surprised when several people in the community expressed anger that it was close to their homes.

Appellant Sigrid Rolfe asked MacDonald if she had attempted to contact her or any of the other complainants.  

"No, I did not," MacDonald said.

Sharon Labchuk, leader of P.E.I.'s Green Party, lives in the area and contacted the environment department when the shooting range opened.

Officials from the department assessed the property and talked to MacDonald about the operation. A permit was approved one week later.

Labchuk and Rolfe then took their case to IRAC, arguing the operation is too noisy and expressing concerns lead from bullets will contaminate groundwater.

Environmentally sound

Glenda MacKinnon-Peters, the department of environment's hazardous materials specialist, told the hearing she is satisfied with the measures MacDonald is taking to prevent that from happening.

"Given that they're proposing to sift the lead out of the soil and do follow-up analysis, that would address any of the concerns I would have," she said.

Labchuk and Rolfe didn't return to the hearing after the lunch break and closing arguments proceeded without them.

The province said it stands by its decision to grant the permit.

MacDonald apologized to her neighbours for not consulting with them. She said because she had federal approval, she felt she had done everything she needed to do.

"The complaint was that we didn't approach them, but we did have a lot of members of the South Granville community — well, neighbours — that did come up and visit us," MacDonald told CBC News after the meeting.

"I've said as much as can be said. Like I said earlier, we're going to consider some baffles for noise to see if that helps and just hope for the best."

IRAC is expected to make a decision about the range within the next few weeks.

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