HISTORY

Excerpts from an article by Imelda Cuthbertson & John Kenchenten

In 1905, a Rod and Gun Club was formed in Nanaimo and boasted a Gabriola contingent. By the 1920's, the Gabriola members were meeting regularly for competitive shoots on home turf. Of course, in those days there was little concern for confining these organized events to any single location and apparently they were quite the social occasion and very well attended. This was a period prior to the availability of mass media entertainment in the home, so naturally these events were anticipated with great enthusiasm by Gabriolans at large.

The 1930's saw the first of the organized turkey shoots over at the old Rowan homestead where a steel trap was made for these occasions. During the war years (1940-1945) organized activities were temporarily suspended.

By 1950, the Grande Hotel joined with the Rowan location in hosting shooting events. More events were organized by the Brown family in the vicinity of Sandwell Beach. The Rod and Gun Club became a formal entity in 1954 with Peter Bell as President and Clyde Coats Secretary/Treasurer. At this time a Pacific reloader for trap shooting was purchased by the club members. Membership blossomed over the next two decades and by the '70s it was decided by the Executive to secure a permanent site for the club.

 

In 1974, the 40 acres - in the present location that we all know and love so well - was acquired by the Club. The first President of the Club in this new phase of its existence was Gordie McDonald, ably supported by Ron Ewing as Vice-President. Our range property has become an integral part of Gabriola life over the intervening years.

 


The beginnings of a solid structure
 
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The introduction of Sporting Clays and 5-Stand shotgun shooting at the range early in the 21st century created a concern for some neighbours and some members of the island community. A May 2011 letter from the Ferne Hill Neighbours Association requested that concessions and operational changes by the GRGCC be made, to which the GRGCC promptly responded with an initial tranche of restrictions to accommodate the concerns.

 

In March of 2012, a Modification Agreement to the GRGCC Lease with the BC Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resources Operations resulted in the termination of all shotgun sports at the Club (except for sighting-in/patterning). In June 2012, the GRGCC was named as a Co-defendant in a Civil Claim for Ongoing Nuisance. On 17 November 2012, the GRGCC Clubhouse was found burnt to the ground. Investigators labelled the fire as ‘suspicious’ and  the RCMP continues to hold this event as an ‘open file’.

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In March 2014, a RELEASE, SETTLEMENT and ADJOURNMENT AGREEMENT was signed between all Civil Claim parties. (Further information regarding the Civil Claim administrative correspondence can be found in the Library_Reference web page listing).