Residents group still concerned about proposed gun range

A response to Jan 26 letter to the editor by Kloovenburg Sports group: I appreciate the passionate response...

Letter to the Editor

Dear editor,

A response to Jan 26 letter to the editor by Kloovenburg Sports group: I appreciate the passionate response from Mr. Brewster of the Kloovenburg Sports Group. However, there are several claims that were made that don’t quite match the data that was put forward and are still extremely concerning both to myself, and to other residents.

The noise from this site is still a key issue that will hugely impact the residents of this area as well as local wildlife. When looking through the noise test report submitted by Kloovenburg, they were not done in the “absolute worst case scenarios” as quoted by Mr. Brewster. They weren’t even done in moderate circumstances. They were performed on June 24, when the foliage was thick and absorbent, and the report notes that the results are only representative of summer conditions, whereas the shooting ranges are supposed to be open from at least April until November. These tests were done with only a few guns firing at the same time. With five shooting courses the actual noise level will be much higher I’m sure. As well, despite the Elk in Banff who have, over generations, become accustomed to the noise in exchange for food left around (a fact that is very detrimental to their health) experts cited by the National Parks Service say that “most researchers agree that noise can effect an animal’s physiology and behavior and if it becomes a constant stress, noise can be injurious to an animal’s energy budget, reproductive success, and long-term survival”. That’s a pretty far cry from Mr. Brewster’s claim that the animals would “thrive” as a result of his gun range.

The environmental report about lead is also very concerning. Lead poisoning is an extremely serious issue, for which many precautions are put in place. However, why Mr. Brewster seems to think lead will be “easy to pick up” is beyond me since the majority of the courses are being built on areas with high grasses according to his report. To make matters worse, soil acidity is a huge factor in whether or not lead will seep into the ground. And in this aspect, the site is completely unsuitable as five out of eight courses fall under the “high risk” category according to Environment Canada standards, including the wetlands area one of the range’s fall areas overlaps onto. While the Kloovenburg group has agreed to soil test for lead contamination every two years, it continues to be an area of concern as the runoff from the land still will go into the creek, which is a direct tributary to the North Saskatchewan River. Besides our drinking water, in an area that has a suspected 23 species considered “sensitive species” by the Alberta government, and more than are considered to be “at risk” this is not a good combination.

Lastly in Mr. Brewster’s letter, he repeatedly presses the fact that they aren’t willing to “appease a few” in favor of the supposed masses of people who will enjoy this site. But realistically, they aren’t building it next to their property or home, are they? What diligence has been given to the 54 plus families (over 250 plus people) who live here? Local residents are questioning just how low surrounding land values will drop if this proposal goes through: the hills and creek bottom lands are only useful for recreational use. People forced to sell out and move from constant disturbance and noise pollution will incur a huge drop in property values: who is going to pay the difference from the assessed land values? Kloovenburg? County of Leduc? I doubt it.

Their lighthearted dismissal of real concerns of the residents and refusal to “appease” shows that they will be similarly dismissive in the future as well.

Bruce Tegart, Leduc County

Strawberry Creek Environmental Action Committee

 

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