Threats to the VFGPA and our future

While we are having great success in attracting record new membership, and in developing our Association’s facilities, our existence is also under threat as it never has been before.

A number of properties adjacent to our ranges have recently come to market, and have been purchased by speculators or developers, most of whom at this time are solely interested in the timber on these lands. They are, however, zoned into 5-acre residential lots, and any home construction on these properties could lead to issues with the noise from our ranges coming into conflict with these new neighbors. This is a tremendous threat to our Association, and your board is working diligently to engage with the new landowners with a view to having the right of first refusal on future purchase of a portion or all of the property in question should it come back to market.

Obviously, for a not-for-profit society, a multi-million-dollar land purchase is a major undertaking, and financially almost impossible to achieve without a massively strong capital position that can be used to secure lending from a financial institution. In addition to all the effort and expenditure currently underway to maintain and develop your facilities, your board is also carefully looking to the future to ensure we are in a strong enough financial position to be able to purchase these buffer lands that are so critical to our continued existence as a shooting range given the impact of the noise on potential future neighbors.

In addition to these physical pressures of needing to secure buffer lands, we are also under tremendous threat from all levels of government as they add costly regulation and law to the use of firearms.

For example, the BC provincial government recently passed Bill 4, which is now in the regulation development phase. Among other regulations, this new law may require full-time staffing at the entrance to any range, to validate two pieces of ID and the PAL of all range users, and ensure records of those visits are kept for 10 years. This one piece of legislation, should it translate into regulation, could potentially add almost $100K a year to our operational costs for the additional staff and infrastructure needed to meet this requirement.

Add this to other regulations recently implemented under federal Bill C-71 and Bill C-21, plus expected future Liberal action against legal firearms owners, and bylaw requirements from the CVRD for items such as the new office building and 50m range permits and environmental assessments, and the simple cost of just maintaining the status quo continues to increase exponentially.

This year alone, staffing costs increased $45K, materials costs such as lumber and plywood more than doubled, our insurance rates increased by over $8K, hydro costs have increased over 10% and we have generally seen significantly increased operation costs across the board as we provide facilities and training courses to meet the increased demand we are seeing from our base of 5,400 members.