Noise experts will be called in to see what can be done at a gun range near Olds where nearby residents have become alarmed by the increasing din.
“The plan is to figure out what is the best thing we can practically do,” said Joe Tucker, president of the Mountain View Marksman Association, which runs the range just west of Olds.
“What we’re talking about is an open-air field in the country (and) what can practically be done to try to contain noise there.
“That’s the next step. That’s what we’re working on.”
The issue came to a head last month at a Mountain View County Council policies and priorities committee meeting during discussion of a proposed countywide noise bylaw. Nearby residents made a presentation expressing their concern that the amount of noise generated at the range had been increasing dramatically in recent years.
Tucker spoke on behalf of the association and its 1,200 members, asking council for time to study the noise issue.
Council agreed to put the bylaw on hold temporarily to give both sides in the gun range dispute time to work out a solution.
In the meantime, county staff were also directed by council to research gun range bylaws to see what sorts of regulations other municipalities have in place. Council was interested in what rules exist for hours of operation, number of shooters allowed and the types of shooting permitted. The report is expected to take up to four months to complete.
Tucker said he’s “very hopeful” that measures can be taken to reduce noise to the satisfaction of neighbours. “I think they understand we are doing the best we can.”
The association has been stepping up efforts to work with the community, he said.
“The new administration, which I’m a part of, has sort of taken a sea change in terms of its position. As opposed to ignoring residents, hoping they’ll go away, we’re really trying to bring them in.
“The feeling I get it is they are very reasonable, very good people, and as long as they understand the process and feel we are doing everything that can practically be done, I think we’ll probably be able to come to a solution that will work for everybody.”