UXBRIDGE: Shots continue to be fired in every direction, as neighbours near Uxbridge Shooting Sports on Conc. 4 continue to contend with noise levels from the site.
Following a recent presentation to council from the local gun club, the sound of dump trucks may soon be joining gunfire in the township countryside. Operators at Uxbridge Shooting Sports revealed during their presentation that, in order to construct a 30-metre high berm on the property, 35,000 truckloads of fill would need to be brought onto the Conc. 4 property.
With applications still to be handed in for the project, local residents are anxious for the municipality to take action if sound levels are not down further by Aug. 31, as was outlined in last year’s much-debated firearms discharge bylaw.
Appearing before council at their meeting on the morning of Monday, July 13, Uxbridge Shooting Sports president Steve Malcolm also outlined some of the other sound mitigation efforts already underway at the club. According to Mr. Malcolm, the club has reduced the amount of powder permitted in shells, as well as relocating a shooting stand to help bring down noise levels.
Mr. Malcolm noted that, once completed, the berm could offer significant further reduction in sound emanating from the property. However, he added that there have been some delays with the project’s applications and permits after an exhaustive five-month search.
“We want to be able to do it once and do it right and not have any issues down the road,” explained Mr. Malcolm. “It would be designed to have the maximum amount of noise reduction for the maximum amount of our neighbours.
Mr. Malcolm added that once approval is granted for the project, tree removal and fencing could be in place for shipments to start rolling in within 30 days.
However, Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor seemed concerned with the amount of truck traffic that would be needed to travel along Conc. 4 as part of the proposed project.
“We opened one can of worms and got another one now,” commented Mayor O’Connor. “If anyone thinks this is going to happen overnight there’s not a chance, there’s a whole process here we haven’t even gotten into yet.”
The mayor added that the approval process for a project at Dagmar Ski Resort that will import 20,000 truckloads of dirt over a three year period, took multiple years to finalize.
Last year, following more than a year of debate on the matter, a bylaw was passed which included new sound parameters for the local shooting club, and local homeowners were adamant that the municipality step in and shut down the club if benchmarks are not met.
“According to the bylaw, if they don’t have this done by August they can be shut down,” said area resident Angie Duggan. “I don’t think we should be asked to take the burden of this noise in the meantime. This is a health issue.”
Later, in an effort to show the historical nature of noise disputes in the township, Mayor O’Connor read a portion of a letter to the editor from 1974, in which the author stated that “it seems that there is always news of people protesting Goodwood Kartways and the Scarborough Shooting Club (the former name of Uxbridge Shooting Sports).”
“These issues have been around since 1974, and (the club) was in operation when I moved here in 1952,” added Mayor O’Connor, reiterating that the approval process for fill projects needs to be extensive in order to avoid environmental issues, such as when high levels of contaminants were recently found at the Greenbank Airways site, and several months later, have still not been cleaned up.
“We have protocols to make sure that what’s brought in won’t come back and haunt us. For an example you need only look to the east and all of the contaminants that have been brought in,” she said. “Please bear with us and understanding that we are working and trying our best.”
Ward 2 Councillor Molloy commented that all sides would like to come up with the best possible solution, and not have the matter tied up in court for several years.
“I’m confident that it will be resolved, but we have to do what’s best for everyone involved,” said Councillor Molloy. “We’d like it to happen a lot faster, but we don’t want to end up in court for years.”
Residents persisted to have council indicate what will be done in regards to noise later this summer, with Mayor O’Connor commenting that a decision will have to wait.
“We can’t prejudge what’s going to happen. Let’s see what happens and what they come in with on August 31.”