PRTC sets sights on indoor range

The PRTC in Chilliwack hopes to be training RCMP members in a new indoor firing range at Canada Education Park by December of next year.

The weapons training range at the Pacific Regional Training Centre is expected to move indoors next year.

It has been a long time coming, but it looks like the PRTC will finally be getting a new firing range.

“Our target date is December, 2015,” said PRTC Superintendent Mike Legault. “We’re working with our municipal partners, the province and Ottawa. It is on track and we’re excited. All that remains is final approvals.”

The new firing range will go to the west of the sports field, closer to the rest of the PRTC buildings.

The current range is farther out on University of the Fraser Valley land, with the lease expiring in 2016. UFV wants that land back, to incorporate into their agricultural program. They will re-purpose the existing facilities to suit their needs.

“One positive aspect for us is that the distance between classes will be lessened, and we’ll be more efficient having it there,” Legault said. “It sounds like a minimal thing, but it will actually make a very big difference at the end of the day.”

The most important aspect of the new firing range will be having it indoors. No more disturbing the neighbors with noise, noise and more noise.

It will be constructed using tilt-up concrete technology, making for a soundproof structure.

A ‘good neighbor agreement’ has limited firing to the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

When it’s in use, it sounds like a fireworks show, with the staccato clack-clack-clack of firearms invading the otherwise peaceful scene.

“As a member of this community, that will make me and a lot of other people very happy,” Legault smiled. “We’ve understood the frustration of people in the community. There’s always been a high level empathy about what we are trying to achieve — training police officers who will help keep their community safe. We get one or two calls a week, but I’ve never personally been involved in a conflict about it. Callers ask, ‘What are you doing? How are you advancing?’ But once explained, they understand.”