A proposed gun range in rural Lumby is moving closer to reality despite opposition.
The Regional District of North Okanagan board gave third reading to rezoning and official community plan amendments Wednesday so a shooting range can be developed at the five-kilometre mark of the Burnyeat Forest Service Road in Trinity Valley.
“The applicant has satisfied all requirements to be met prior to a public hearing,” said Rick Fairbairn, RDNO chairperson and rural Lumby director.
At a public hearing Wednesday, many of the speakers protested the business on 1.48 hectares.
“There are homes behind the range,” said David McRae, an adjacent property owner.
“Is the board prepared to be responsible for liabilities if an accident occurs?”
Resident Gwynn Ray challenged RDNO’s recent sound tests at the range site and the potential noise.
“I don’t want to hear bullets shooting all day long. I moved out there for peace and quiet,” she said.
Ursula Jensen told the board that her concerns have not been taken seriously by RDNO.
“I feel dismissed which is disappointing as a resident of Area D for 34 years,” she said.
However, support for applicant Michael O’Rourke came from Walter Bopfinger.
“I consider it to be a very safe property. He’s tried to accommodate us as neighbours,” said Bopfinger.
O’Rourke says the design of the gun range, which would have a 1,000-metre distance for shooting, meets RCMP standards.
“There won’t be any stray bullets,” he said.
“My goal is to have zero sound at the boundary of the property or close to zero.”
When it came time for the board to consider third reading of bylaws, just the five electoral area directors could participate.
Support came from Fairbairn and directors Herman Halvorson and Hank Cameron while directors Bob Fleming and Mike Macnabb were opposed.
“The proposal was poorly presented to the people affected. The concerns could be addressed with full engagement,” said Macnabb.
Fairbairn defends the process leading up to third reading, including the sound tests.
“The decibel levels were well below what is allowed in the noise bylaw,” he said.
It’s not known when final adoption of the rezoning and OCP bylaws could occur as O’Rourke must register a covenant restricting land use and the RCMP must sign off on the proposal.