DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Those hoping for a resolution to the ongoing debate surrounding the proposed firearms discharge by law will have to wait until at least September.
Council once again delayed making a decision on the controversial by law at their meeting on the morning of Monday, Aug. 12.
Council chambers were once again packed with residents in opposition to any potential increase in operating hours at Uxbridge Shooting Sports on Conc. 4.
The chief concern over nearby residents is the noise emanating from the club, which has operated in the same location since 1965.
Uxbridge Shooting Sports Vice President Steve Malcolm explained that the club has taken steps to improve its noise barriers in recent years, including the planting of almost 10,000 trees on the property since 1996. However, local residents who have moved to the area with knowledge of the gun club’s long-standing operation, claim that the addition of these trees has done little to block sound emanating from the club.
"Trees do not make a difference, only mass blocks sound, and trees do not have enough mass," said local resident Jim Burgess.
Mr. Malcolm responded that the club could look at further measures to block sound, but they would take both time and money to properly implement.
"We can improve what we’ve already done," said Mr. Malcolm. "Bigger berms around the property is something we’ll look into, but it’ll be a costly endeavour that’ll take time."
Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy agreed that measures should be taken to further reduce the sound from the club.
"It’s time to look at it and see if some big changes can’t be made to sound," commented Councillor Molloy. "We have to be diligent and work on all of these issues to get the sound down."
Local residents also take issue with the club’s continued operation on Saturday, which was included in a by-law passed in 1989 to allow for occasional events at the club in addition to their typical Wednesday and Sunday operations.
According to Mr. Malcolm, the club operates mainly for members-only training on Saturdays, and does not advertise this in an effort to limit the amount of Saturday shooting on the property.
There are, however, five major events that take place on Saturdays at the club throughout the year. Nearby residents have appealed to have the club limited to one Saturday of operation per month, a move that did not appear to sit well with Mr. Malcolm.
"Giving away 40 Saturdays a year is not acceptable," said Mr. Malcolm, whose presentation was marred by constant groans from the audience. "This issue should have been addressed in 1965,and again in 1989."
A motion by Ward 1 Councillor Bev Northeast to limit the club to operating on five Saturdays per year could not find a seconder at the council table, and was defeated.
Council would later decide to keep the by-law intact until more information regarding sound from the site can be obtained.
Councillors voted unanimously to have an audio engineer conduct a sound study to ensure that decibel levels fall within Ministry of the Environment guidelines, essentially leaving the current firearms discharge by-law in place until the results of the study are presented to council.
The results of the study are expected to be made public in September, and Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor stressed a speedy resolution to the study.
"In fairness to both sides, we need to do the study immediately and bring it back," said Mayor O’Connor.
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