The city could be lowering its sights on an indoor gun range in Barrie.
The city's financial and corporate services committee has directed city staff to work with Gun Linx, the Chief Firearms Office of Ontario and Barrie city police to identify applicable regulations, and potential amendments to city bylaws, that would be required to provide an exemption to allow for an indoor gun range at 342 King St., near Veterans Drive and Mapleview, as well as implications of the proposed gun range, and report back to councillors.
Roger Gray, of Gun Linx, told committee members Tuesday night it’s offering an educational and sports shooting facility range to serve clients in the law enforcement, military and security business, as well as private members who enjoy target shooting and hunting.
“Our vision is to be the go-to educational and shooting range facility for all those living in and around the Simcoe County and southern Ontario regions,” Gray told committee members.
Gun Linx would offer a shooting range system, with tactical, 50-metre and 100-m long gun ranges, teaching its customers how to handle firearms, how to shoot properly, clean and maintain guns.
Gray said two of its owners are ex-military and current active police officers in Barrie’s tactical division.
Coun. Gary Harvey, who represents this part of Barrie, also wants area businesses to know what might be coming.
“I think it’s important that the local businesses in the area that are potentially going to be affected by this at least are notified ahead of time to give them that ample opportunity to provide input, either positive or negative, to this,” said Harvey, who's a York Regional Police officer.
City staff will notify all businesses in the commercial King Street area of this potential exemption to allow them to provide input.
Gray said Gun Linx would operate from a single, stand-alone building on King Street. It would be a private club, with all shooters being licensed.
“There are a bunch of different gun facilities within the Simcoe area,” Gray said. “All of them are outdoor shooting facilities… all of them are fully booked. There’s waiting lists. There’s big demand.”
The land is designated general industrial in Barrie’s Official Plan and zoned light industrial in the zoning bylaw. City staff are of the opinion that an indoor gun range can be defined as a ‘recreational establishment’ in the zoning bylaw, so a rezoning would not be required.
But in order for Gun Linx to submit an application to the Chief Firearms Office of Ontario for an indoor gun range in Barrie, a motion of council to provide an exemption from the city’s regulatory bylaw is required, staff say.
This bylaw permits the discharge of firearms only in these specific cases: police officers discharging a firearm in the course of carrying out their duties; a municipal law enforcement officer destroying an animal; a shooting competition or display, provided council has given its consent to hold the competition or display; as well as activities carried out at Barrie Armoury by the Department of National Defense at 37 Parkside Dr.
In addition, no one shall discharge any firearm, either for gain or in such a manner or in such places, as to disturb other people.