Lumby fires off support for gun range

Plans for a private shooting range are on target with Lumby politicians

Plans for a private shooting range are on target with Lumby politicians.

Council has agreed to write a letter of support for Michael O’Rourke, who wants to build a range at the five-kilometre mark on the Burnyeat Forest Service Road in Trinity Valley.

“It’s something we don’t have around here,” said Mayor Kevin Acton of the 1,000-metre distance for shooting.

“It would be great for RCMP and military training and it could create economic opportunities for the area.”

The facility would be on 1.48 hectares of a 129-hectare site.

Coun. Julie Pilon says she endorsed a letter of support from council because a certified range will improve safety conditions for gun enthusiasts and residents.

“This will be instead of people going out into the bush for practice.”

The concept of the gun range first arose in 2013 and O’Rourke needs an official community plan amendment from the Regional District of North Okanagan, which manages land use issues in Trinity Valley.

RDNO has required O’Rourke to hold a public information meeting and conduct sound tests before the OCP amendment process proceeds.

O’Rourke has also been in discussion with the Ministry of Forests over access to the Burnyeat Forest Service Road.

Rick Fairbairn, rural Lumby director, supports O’Rourke’s concept for a shooting range.

“It does a lot to enhance the gun safety issue,” said Fairbairn.

“If you want to sight rifles, you can go there instead of going on to Crown land.”

O’Rourke could not be reached for comment, but in a 2013 interview, he said the closest neighbour is more than a kilometre away and all measures would be taken to address safety and noise concerns.

“I don’t want any troubles. If I lived there and it sounded like World War Three every day, I’d be upset too,” he said.

There are only two other facilities in B.C. that provide a 1,000-metre firing range and O’Rourke stated the RCMP and military are interested in using his property.

“There is a niche for this sort of thing.”