Initially, shooting of handguns, long guns (including shotguns – trap) took place on the properties of Leonard Way, located on #3 Highway, just past Moore’s Mills. After a few years, Mr. Way built a home located as such that it interfered with the continuation of of club activities as this site.
In the early 1980’s, the SCSC began rimfire indoor shooting at the St. Stephen Middle School Range. At this time, there was a St. Croix Pistol and Revolver Club (SCPRC) using the same facility. The School Administration rented the range two evenings per week during the school year for a nominal fee. The SCPRC gradually disappeared and the SCSC inherited overseeing both activities on the indoor range.
In the mid 1990’s, the SCSC received permission to allow shooting of all caliber firearms at the McGibbon’s gravel pit on the #3 Highway. This allowed summer shooting for a few years until lack of participation caused cessation. Use of McGibbon’s gravel pit for summer shooting was revived in 1999 with moderate success until increasing 4 wheeler interruptions made usage untenable.
In 1998, federal legislation came into effect which made it mandatory for Gun Clubs to have a minimum of $2,000,000 of liability insurance to cover club members and is executive against accidents on authorized shoots. This is supplied by being affiliated with, the Shooting Federation of Canada (SFC). To become affiliated with the SFC, a national organization, a club needs be a member of a provincial organization – in this case, the Royal New Brunswick Rifle Association (RNBRA). Annually since 1995, Treasurer, Gordon Richardson has registered our club affiliation with the RNBRA and SFC and more recently, the National Firearms Association (NFA) for insurance purposes.
In 2000, Secretary/Treasurer registered the SCSC with the provincial Firearms Registry Office. This enabled members to attain restricted firearms “Authorization to Transport” permits for up to three years.
In January 2002, the N.B. Department of Education abruptly and permanently closed the St. Stephen Middle School indoor rifle range thus leaving the SCSC without shooting facilities. The SCSC foresaw the potential closure, and in May 2000, began actively pursuing and a few months later, made formal application for Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lands to construct shooting facilities.
Many delays occurred, due to DNR policy development, site rejections, site reselections and various departmental inspections (to name but a few). On the 15th of January 2005, the SCSC received written notification in a letter (dated 10 January 2005) from DNR indicating that the application for a renewable ten year lease of 6 hectares to construct a shooting range would be issued providing numerous items (such as insurance, surveying, etc.) were addressed. Finally, the lease was finalized in June and made effective the 1st of July 2005.
Club incorporation was initiated in June 2005 and was finalized in August 2005.
Additional surveying and line flashing of the site perimeter was completed; signage was installed and the land clearing was completed in January 2006. Since the fall of 2004, about $45,000 worth of work towards range related activities has been carried out.
In June 2005, the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund (WLTF) partially accepted an application for a grant, which enabled the SCSC to arrange excellent RNBRA workshops in St. Stephen, in October 2005. 32 members in total attended Handgun Coaching, Long Gun Coaching and Range Officer Certification courses under the instruction of Bob Keirstead, Canadian Olympic Shooting Coach.
Though initial funding from WLTF was denied, in February 2006 the SCSC proceeded with two more RNBRA workshops for Youth and Ladies which took place in late April 2006, which Mr. Keirstead also instructed.
In the spring of 2006, one 100 metre and two 50 metre ranges (Ranges A, B, and C respectively) were constructed. This included gate, flag poles, signage, etc. The Department of Public Safety certification, effective 1st July 2006 , allows for a maximum of 23 shooting lanes on the 3 ranges. All caliber long guns and handguns are allowed.
Subsequent work resulted in target frames, 9 shooting benches, six picnic tables and an outhouse being constructed. Also, a set of ten metal silhouette targets has been constructed. Now that the club house has been constructed, our current focus is on parking area development, on-site storage, and classroom facilities.
Additional leased lands in excess of shooting requirements will be available for uses limited only by members’ imagination and DNRs approval!
As collected and reported by: Marcel Babineau Past Club President