The Meadowbrook Community Association has taken up the cause of residents of Meadowbrook and Wood’s corner about an unauthorized gun range near the Cherry Creek Rest Area. It is located about 12 kilometres out of Kimberley.
MCA spokesperson Bob Johnstone said in a press release that residents are reporting frequent use of high-powered rifles and Tannerite, an explosive substance used in making bombs that creates a fire hazard close to the main power and gas pipelines.
“The complainants expressed concern for the safety of residents and other recreational users,” Johnstone said. “There is evidence of the consumption of alcohol at the gun range. Stray bullets have reached properties on nearby McGinty Road.”
He said that the users just took over a fairly accessible spot and set up a wooden rest and a target made from plywood and metal.
“They were shooting at targets and clay pigeons. They were not interested in attending either the approved target range on the Ta Ta Creek Lost Dog FSR or the trap and skeet range on Wycliffe flats.”
Johnstone says that he has been told that one young child is afraid of playing outside and that the noise sometimes lasts for hours, making it difficult for residents to enjoy being outdoors.
“Recreational users have also indicated that they no longer feel safe recreating in the area,” Johnstone said.
He says the site is littered with household waste, empty casings, and clay pigeons. The pollutants (ie: lead and plastics) in the debris are harmful to the wild animals and cattle that graze in area.
The MCA requested a meeting with MLA Doug Clovechok, RDEK Area E Director Jane Walter, RCMP Sergeant Steve Woodcox, Conservation Officer Sergeant Denny Chretien, and Natural Resource Officer Supervisor Kevin Vaters.
The meeting was held at the site on June 28, 2021. Johnstone said, “The MCA is pleased that the agencies shared our concerns and pledged to support our efforts to rectify this dangerous and polluting situation”.
He reported that, since there is evidence of unsafe use, this site should be dismantled. He also noted the parties agreed to these actions:
• the MCA will organize volunteers to clean up this and other similar sites,
• the MCA will post signage encouraging legal and responsible shared recreational use,
• the RCMP and the Conservation Service will step up patrols,
• the MCA will initiate an awareness campaign to inform the public about the existing situation and the actions being taken in response.