Wednesday 12 October 2022

I did my duty!

 Here I am at 4:40 a.m., writing my post. Usually I had my posts planned a couple of days in advance. Protesting this new gun club has me betwixt and between. We took off at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, to go to our council chambers for the 5 p.m. meeting. In the beginning, we felt as if it was only us who objected to the noise. We felt alone and vulnerable, potential targets, if you get the pun. That changed.

Momentum was building as neighbour told neighbour about the potential gun club. We'd only been told about it two weeks ago, by a passing neighbour. From there word spread from concerned resident to concerned resident.  

With the leaves down,
you can see where the forest begins again.
The wetland cleans the water as it goes back
into Otty Lake and the aquifer.

The house and 120 acres sold this year for $606,000. The previous owner sold up after losing her husband. I'd actually visited the home as a volunteer several years ago. The YouTube video of the property is amazing: 120 acres, lots of wetland . Our wetlands are so precious and so fragile. 

The room had to be reset, as they had had only a capacity of 30 during COVID. They wisely brought in chairs for 65. When we arrived there were several residents waiting to go. JB snagged us front row seats. I was vibrating with energy. As we waited for the meeting to start, the room filled. It was standing room only in the hallway. It was nerve wracking as we didn't know if supporters of the gun club would be there.

There was a sign-in sheet for people arriving, name, email, address. We were curious about who would come, who was impacted by this gun club, and who might object. None of us who moved in after the OPP shooting range was created had been told about it. No one was asked if they should create it in the very beginning.

The Township Planner presented a PowerPoint, which was quite comprehensive. He'd used the data I'd provided and the background I gave him and done his own research. I have the letters the OPP had given residents near to the OPP Recertification range from 2014 to 2019. He photocopied them all. In the PPT was a list of people who supported the proposal (17) vs. a formal list of names of those against it (61). Those supporting the proposal did not reveal their addresses. 

The township's Official Plan states that the Plan's purpose is "to create a suitable acoustical environment for the residents." This should be full stop here. 

Add to that the government's Provincial Policy Statement (2020 PDF) regarding planning and land use, speaks very carefully to wetland management.

wetland walkies in winter

The gun club proponent read his speech, suggesting that the gun range will bring tourist dollars to town, despite strict rules about transporting guns to and from a gun range. He said that his gun range should be grandfathered, despite it violating the zoning by-laws. There are a lot of homes nearby. The range isn't that far from any of us. He mentioned my name twice, as if it was only us complaining. I was quite shocked.

aerial view

This is the view from the highway.

There are a lot of homes ignored by the BTE acoustic report

They identified two locations (X),
but ignored many others (X)

I read my speech, vibrating with rage. I wasn't afraid, just couldn't believe what we have to do. I testified at an inquest 40 years ago, and while I was shaken then, I wasn't nearly this upset. 

RCMP write about Impulsive Sounds

1.6.3 Impulsive Sounds

The noise from firearms is described as being “impulsive,” which signifies that the sound lasts for only a very short period of time, typically less than 1 second. Impulsive sounds are so short that even the fast meter response is not fast enough to give a true maximum level.

The overall energy of a series of impulsive noises from firearms is correctly described by means of a Leq measurement. However, there is doubt that the Leq measurement adequately describes the community response to impulsive sound because of the startling effect such noise can have. This problem can be overcome by adding a penalty to the measured Leq value. In the 1971 version of ISO 1996 [14], a 5 dB penalty is recommended for impulsive noise. Other research has indicated penalties of 7 dB [25], 10 dB [10] or 12 dB [29]. 

JB spoke after several others. He explained that he used guns on the farm. He also explained that we had hired the proponent several times: the toilet replacement, our lower deck repairs. We've bought wood from him several times. It's nothing personal, it is just the noise.

Speaker after speaker brought up the impact the gun noise had on them on the lake (2 km away). You can see from Google Earth the 12 gun lanes and the bog right beside it. This is shameful. Another point made was that the metals remaining from 20+ years of use in as a gun range, there is much cleanup to do. There is a clean up Plan I and Plan II to ameliorate the mess in the ground, but it hasn't begun. They will involve the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority in that process. There are "known soil exceedances" (i.e., metals) on the gun range. 

For us: it is the noise. This is the same for Amy Millar, there representing her father, Ian Millar. She spoke eloquently about the issues she faces raising her horses, and giving lessons to students while listening to gunfire. Ian Millar was on a plane, having not been given proper notice about this issue. Very few of us had. None knew the extent of the noise, and how far it travels. Handgun noise can travel 1.6 km and long guns 3 km away. Their horses are worth millions of dollars. 

The distance from Ian Millar's field
to the 12-lane gun range.

There is a statue in Perth of Ian Millar
 on his horse, Big Ben. 

As I left, I checked the sign-in sheets and there appeared to be 90 people there. The proponent, and his Safety/Gun expert Jeremy, as well as a Zanderplan rep. None but the proponent and his Safety Officer for the club spoke in favour. Now we wait for next steps. It'll come back to Council who will yay or nay it. There will be another meeting. If they decided to let this fly, there is a tribunal at which we can speak since we spoke at this meeting. Then it goes to the provincial firearms office in Orillia. If you've hung in here reading, thank you! I wanted to get it all straight in my own mind. I keep waking to that hamster wheel in my head. 

In my speech I was complaining about the lack of proper evaluations of the Impulse Noise, and played the sound for the group. Happily they'd passed around a microphone and I just put it beside my laptop speaker after introducing it. 

gunfire from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

UPDATES: newspaper coverage 


Tom said...

...too often land use is all about the money.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
A good record to keep, Jenn! Well set out and clear for the unaffected but interested reader. You have my continued wishes for satisfactory outcomes. YAM xx

Karen said...

I can't help but wonder, if the news hadn't been spread by word of mouth, if this facility would have just opened without notice? Kind of scares me to think what else slips by us these days. We had a similar fight some years back to keep a big aggregate outfit from opening on our end of the road. The folks at the other end didn't fight to hard. It's a disgusting mess over there now.

Olga said...

The wheels of these things can turn so slowly. I am wishing you a good outcome.

William Kendall said...

Tourist dollars. Yeah, right. That's believable.

Barbara Rogers said...

So sorry you have to take time from your own busy life to get this proposed gun range gone. It's too bad the other one impacts so many people. I wonder where they would be welcome...

Gaelyn said...

You're a Rock Star! I sure hope all this interest will stop the project to destroy a wonderful and much needed wetland. Keep up the fight!

Divers and Sundry said...

I hope your efforts are successful. The noise issue affects the entire surrounding environment. What a shame :(

Cloudia said...

It is important to remember that the lead in bullets can have a very damaging effect on wetlands and wildlife in general! This is a serious problem that should be also considered. I am keeping a good thought for you that you will remain happy in your peaceful home, my dear friend

Cloudia said...

Best wishes

RedPat said...

It sounds like you were very organized.

Lorrie said...

Way to go, Jenn! Wetlands and noise abatement are surely more important than letting people fire guns! Where's the logic?

Jeanie said...

This is fascinating and well done. Sounds like people (especially you!) have done their homework and that is pretty powerful. I really hope all your efforts work out. I would hate it if this was coming to my area.

Kathy G said...

I hope the government does the right thing and listens to the will of the people.

Kathy G said...

I hope the government does the right thing and listens to the will of the people.

Elephant's Child said...

I so hope that your concerns (which I would share) are acted on.

Patio Postcards said...

Good Luck with the fight against the gun club. We don't need to encourage more gun use full stop! (IMO) Amy Miller is a lovely lady & her Dad is a hero of mine. One of the stables I boarded my horse at was near a gun range. We lasted about 8 months - my horse was a nervous wreck by the time we left, the constancy of guns being fired is very unsettling to horses. He, my horse, use to love being out in pasture; a dawn to dust kind of horse, but there, he'd last maybe 2 hours before he was pacing at the gate to come in. Once we moved, he was back to relaxed & loving being in his pasture. The boarding stables was there first, the gun club moved in afterwards.

Ontario Wanderer said...

Well done! I am happy that you are on the side of sanity!

Angie said...

Jenn - good for you and the entire community for showing up and speaking your minds. Democracy does not work without it. I hope it comes out in your favor.

Anvilcloud said...

It reads as though you were very prepared and that the case is strong. I don’t think it will be approved.