The Victoria Bowmen Archery Club is looking for a new location for its outdoor range after the provincial government decided to move forward with plans to build a handyDART facility in View Royal.
The range is located at 2401 Burnside Rd. West, near Craigflower Creek. The handyDART facility proposal was initially rejected by View Royal in June 2018 after the town heard concerns about environmental impacts, noise, parking and air quality. However, the province designated the property as an arterial highway this summer, bypassing View Royal’s bylaws.
Now, the property the archery range has been on for about 10 years, will also be taken over.
Al Wills, president of the Victoria Bowmen Archery Club, said the group has a license to use the property until June. After that, they will need to find somewhere else to go.
“We’ve been happy there and rode through the storm when transit first came in,” Wills said.
In 2018, Wills said the province had originally offered to build its facility on the southwest corner of the property, allowing the archery range to stay. However, the club is now being told they’ll have to go.
“The last information we received was a phone call from [BC] Transit saying they don’t anticipate us having to move before June,” Wills said. “So we still have some time and are actively searching for a new spot.”
The club put about $50,000 into building the new facility about a decade ago. The money was put towards improvements such as fencing, safety and grading and Wills said over the years the club has managed to maintain good relations with the Town and its residents. He noted the club knew the $50,000 would not be returned, although members were hoping the Burnside property would be a more permanent home.
“Here we are providing a service to the community and teaching our trade to kids,” Wills said. “We’ve been pretty good corporate citizens and I don’t think View Royal has had a complaint about us being here and we’re out on our ear and out $50,000.”
While the club has begun to put out feelers for a new outdoor range location, Wills said he’s confident something will work out.
“We’ve been around for over 70 years so we’re not going anywhere,” Wills said. “We’re working with community councils to try and find a solution.”