By Chad Ingram
Members of Highlands East council heard about a proposal for a private club and shooting range just outside Cardiff during a Dec. 10 meeting.
The facility to be called Off Trail Odysseys would be located on a 200-acre property in the area of Hudson Lake. The property owner is requesting rezoning to permit the gun range and the property would also include accommodations which customers could choose to rent. Because it involves firearms those activities would be regulated under the federal Firearms Act.
“This is not war games this is not paintball” township planning consultant Chris Jones told councillors explaining customers wouldn’t be running around the property with guns but rather shooting at fixed targets. “It’s not hunting per se it’s firearms use firearms training.”
Jones said that zoning and a site control plan would dictate where on the property those activities could take place.
Councillor Cec Ryall had concerns about public safety.
“Long rifles can be an issue” Ryall said noting they can shoot bullets for a number of miles. “Do you know if long rifles are included?”
“My understanding is yes” Jones said adding he believed any firearms that were legal under federal law would be permitted at the site.
“I have serious concerns with the noise associated with this proposal” said Councillor Suzanne Partridge explaining she thought the sound of gunfire would be a nuisance to residents in the area.
The shooting range itself would be located in a ravine on the property Jones said. Jones said he could arrange a site visit and walk-through for members of council in which they were interested.
Councillor Cam McKenzie who has a military background and has been a recreational shooter for 40 years said the federal government has “very strict regulation on range approvals” especially civilian ones. McKenzie noted there is not much to be done about noise but noted the shooting range in Bancroft is in the town of Bancroft itself.
Councillors agreed to move to a public meeting on the proposed facility. Partridge said she would like to wait to hold that public meeting until a time when seasonal residents are in the area and other members agreed with that. They passed a resolution noting a public meeting would be scheduled for a future date.