Sunday, August 27th, 2017
Environmental impact study update
Right there, within our business plan is written the vision statement for the business. Yes I know most companies have them but I would suggest not all companies live by them….we do!
In there it is written “…….and at the same time to positively co-exist with the local communities and the environment”.
These are not just words to appease the township (I would never expect that the township would ever see the business plan anyway); and they weren’t written to secure the funding or score a brownie point with some other key role person of interest in the business. The words were written because we believe them and want to live by them.
Of course, this takes on its own life when it comes to the township and conservation authorities and how we connect with those folks as we get closer to the zoning application period.
As you can expect environmental concerns are absolutely paramount in a project like this and there are a whole host as scary aspects that any township would leap on, not least the conservation depts. and associations. Such things as lead, noise factors, interruptions with animal life, soil and water flow and quality are all on the table for discussions; then there are seasonal affects and migratory effect as well as even ‘historical’ – as far as first nation and early settler evidence. The environmental considerations are wide sweeping and all come into an expansive action of data and research called the ‘Environmental Impact Study” (EIS)
For sure this has been a learning experience for us. There are the obvious aspects that you would expect to work with such as not encroaching on wetland or marsh areas but did you know there is something called the Lake Simcoe Watershed and the Mitchell Lake Watershed boundaries. This is an area that the townships have agreed to minimize construction and commercial affects as a way to minimize the contamination potential to Lake Simcoe and Mitchell Lake. Considering that this boundary cuts across the lower end of the land area, we have to understand that and make sure to locate any construction outside of that region.
As it happens our build proposal doesn’t involve construction within that area but again we still have to provide data and mapping to show that detail.
Plant & animal
As part of the EIS data research we needed to gather up, prior to being able to submit to the township for our zoning allowance (changing the area from Rural general to zoning appropriate for our needs), we were required to performed what’s called a 3-season review. It is what it sounds like – we had to take various on-site reviews for various aspects throughout 3 seasons…..from March through September.
There is no short cut you have do the appraisals on site at very specific windows of opportunity
Being a data driven individual myself its hard to understand why we would base many key decisions on the single data point discovered on a specific day and not judge data over a series of years.
I understand and agree that we need to be as complimentary to the area as we can but I still struggle where we may have to move the club house location 100 meters south to accommodate bird nesting when the nest in question is basically seen on one day – who knows where the birds will nest the following year; if at all. Meanwhile, we may have accommodated for the bird or animal for the year that they were actually located in an odd location to their norm for some reason.
In my world I cannot take just one data point and project a statistical norm and base multimillion dollar budgets on such things.
Nevertheless, this is why we engage with subject matter experts whom we leverage their skills and knowledge.
For the EIS, there are a whole raft of skills to cover the zoning required data; and thank goodness we have those key role people. As for the plant and animal studies, we have one such expert who is guiding us through the minefield and with Skelton Brumwell are developing a map and plan of action which we will be presenting to the MNR in the next step forward very soon.
As any insurance actuary will tell you, the function and activity of a shooting range is not the giant killer; in fact its one of the safest activities – it’s the noise!
The acoustic trials are key to demonstrate to the local area residents that we can and will achieve the stringent sound limitations that a range is held to.
Now, for the uninitiated the sound levels for a new range is 45d. To me that doesn’t really mean anything until you make some various everyday comparisons. I recently measured thunder (all be it right over head) on the shooting range site while I was there at 72db; a conversation in a car could easily go beyond 45db if you still have your snow tires on; or if you are in my house when the internet goes out…100db for the kids crying they cant play Minecraft!
Seriously thought, this is the key reason we have 1350 acres ear marked for the range – simply to offer as much sound barrier to the neighbors as we could. Even though the current nearest neighbor is 4km away we can’t relay on that for the future. Again, we all must know a range that has had to spend an awful lot of money on re-soundproofing their ranges for new housing areas that encroach onto their area and complain about the noise.
We want to make this site future proofed and we have a very stringent build for the shooting ports and berms so that we will not be seeing any red letters from the township or CFO of course.
Our acoustic trials are planned on happening probably late September before it gets too cool and the weather starts to change. There are strict local area environmental circumstances that have to exist to allow for accurate readings of the sound so the longer we leave that it gets out of range of the metrics
We have secured the acoustic consultants and are looking forward to their results.
Archaeological and Roads
Our work with MHBC, that represent our interface with the key role people in the township, helps us keep on top of the next steps.
In a recent discussion, while we have succeeded in being able to deliver a lot of the required information, we still need to gather more. Most of this is either desk top data gathering such as the archaeological review of the area where they will review records to understand if there are areas of significant importance for history; or site plan drawings now that we have the layout to accommodate the various aspects of the EIS and beyond.
Everyday, it is on our minds of when we can get the zoning application into the township. Its getting closer with every data point but we cant shortcut the process. A missed study here or there could mean we would have to wait a complete year to be able to gain insight of a particular plant, animal or bird of interest.
Methodical is the name of the game right now – sadly patience is not my middle name and that leads me to frustration.
It seems I am learning more than just wildlife studies on the path forward; although I am not sure I will ever learn to be as patient as I need to be.
The big news will come soon enough and you will hear us singing loud and proud that we have submitted zoning to the township….so keep your ears open!