In April of 2022 law abiding firearms owners and their right to keep and use their legally owned firearms are under attack as never before. At the same time Fish & Game Clubs with ranges in BC are under attack in the form of BC Bill 4.

On March 23, 2022 the Federal Liberals and NDP announced an agreement that ‘saw the Liberals and the NDP pledge to prioritize action on pharma care, dental care and the climate crisis as part of an agreement that could potentially see the federal Liberals holding the reins of power until 2025”. Under the terms of the agreement, the NDP agreed to support the governing Liberals in confidence votes in exchange for progress on key files  All indications are that, as soon as the Conservatives select a new leader, the Liberals will introduce an even more draconian Firearms bill aimed at law abiding firearms owners.

BC Bill 4 – 2021 the ‘Firearm Violence Prevention Act’ worked its way through the system and on March 22, 2021  received third and final reading. This act was largely based on the Illegal Firearms Task Force Report (A report to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General of British Columbia September 30, 2017). The act has not yet been proclaimed as the NDP bureaucrats develop the regulations. All this will do is put onerous record keep requirements on clubs which could cost the clubs a great deal of money and some clubs will not survive.

This act will have a large impact on the way clubs do business. Range users and how they sign in will also be greatly impacted. Part 4- Shooting ranges is the primary reason for these changes. It appears to be based on an assumption by the framers of the bill that”gang bangers”, drug traffickers and other criminals are using the ranges at Fish & Game clubs to practice with their firearms. This is a ridiculous assumption but once the NDP obtained a majority government the passage of the bill was a forgone conclusion. It is based on their anti-firearms agenda and not any proven facts.
It may seem bleak but we all need to keep contacting our MP and MLA and express our concern about their actions or dust off our golf clubs.

I thought I would take this opportunity to post an article on the early history of the Nanaimo & District Fish & Game Protective Association clubhouse written by Ted Barsby Sr.

When we decided to try and write up the history of the Nanaimo & District Fish and Game Protective Association we knew that we did not have any written history only verbal comments and stories that had been passed down from some of our formative and old time members over the years so most of our history will be from 1945 on.

In 1945 the membership in the Club was not that great, maybe about 60 or 70 members, with attendance at the meetings of about 20 to 30 unless there was a hot topic to be discussed. With the end of the War and the return of the Veterans, many who had spent the days of the hungry thirties hunting and fishing for sustenance for their selves, families and hungry friends and who, in the hell of War, had done a lot of thinking of the comparative good days of the past and those who had a safe return were anxious to get back to the “good old days”, found a drastic change. Some of their favorite hunting and fishing areas had been logged, were being logged, or going to be logged, with gated logging roads into the area’s where they used to walk.  The land on  Vancouver Island that was recreational land, be it hunting, fishing or any other type of outdoor recreation was composed of a fair amount of private land in it for example the 2,200,000 acres of the E.&N. land grant that had a good portion of recreational land in it was private and most of the rest of the land was recreational Crown Land which by 1950 was being divided up among the major logging companies by a system known as Tree Farm Licenses which had no rights for public access written into the agreements and, obviously, access had or was going to become a real problem on most of the outdoor recreational land on the Island. We decided that, as a Fish & Game Club should try to remedy this problem which we did and had considerable success and our membership really started to grow. A full report on our access activities will be found later on in this history document.

The meetings of the Club were held in various localities and in 1945 they were being held in community room in the Occidental Hotel, free of charge, where the basic discussions were about hunting season dates and bag limits. By 1948 with an increase in membership discussions enlarged and we decided that we could create more interest if we had a place to call our own where we could do other things such as target shooting etc. However we had very little money, somewhere around $100.00 because our only income was from the yearly dues which w ere $1.00 and we were concerned about losing members if we raised the dues. In 1952 we took out liability insurance for our members, awe were able to enter into an access agreement with McMillan & Bloedel for Fish & Game members and M & B employees and this, of course, increased our membership considerably.

In 1952 we talked to the Trap Club because they had a club house in the North West comer of the then army camp and enough land to carry on trap shooting with a single trap. We made arrangements to hold our meetings up there while we were looking for a suitable location to build our own club house. The Trap Club had a club house on leased land, a bank account of around $3,000.00 but not much activity. We had no clubhouse, very little money and about $100.00 and an active club. In 1956 we found a suitable site, known to us as Sykes’s Farm, but which was a piece of property that the City had bought in 1933 for a reservoir, and we signed a lease on June 1st• 1956 for the plus or minus 20 acres, where we are now, for $100.00 per year. Ironically, at the time the Department of National Defense decided to sell off that portion of the army camp where the trap range was and the asking price was $13,000.00 which was money that neither the Trap Club nor the Fish & Game Club had and as a result, because we had the suitable property, we amalgamated under the name of our organization. We moved the trap club house down to our property as a temporary club house, purchased a big army hut which the D.N.D. were disposing off for $500.00 and moved it down to our site to remodel and have a far bigger clubhouse. However, we could not move the army hut to our property until we had a suitable foundation to put it on and that took quite a bit of time and a hell of a lot of hard work before we moved it.

Once we had the army hut placed on the foundation it took a heck of a lot of work to remodel it. We decided to have a work party every Tuesday night and a lot of weekends and we had a pretty steady group of members who attended faithfully to do the remodeling. I am afraid to try and give the names of those faithful members because it was such a long time ago and I am sure to forget too many of them. However with some help from a few of the old-timers that are left I will put a list of any of the names that we can remember but we needed some additions like lavatories, a kitchen, a set of stairs to the basement, a bar, some storage areas and a front and back entrance. Here I must give you some names, Joe Addison and  his son  Bob led the way in the additional construction with the help of our members and that as why the bar is called Joe’s Bar. A lot of finishing in the main hall was done by Royal Williams, again with membership help. The chimneys and fireplace were built by Ed. Guizzetti with Ed. doing the brick work and the stone masons, Fred Rossetto and Johnny Zuich doing the stone work on the front of the fire place. This work had to done in 1959.

Although we could have used more volunteer help during the construction we also had troubles finding the funds for some of the necessary  materials that we had to purchase to keep the project going. In January 1958, the first meeting of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Nanaimo Fish & Game Club was held and it was decided that the main purpose of the auxiliary was to help the men’s club complete the club house by raising funds to help finance their projects. They sure carried out their purpose and without them we would have had heck of a time trying to make the club house usable in a reasonable time, Even with their help, it took 4 years too make it usable. It was really pressure from the Ladies Auxiliary that made us make the effort to hold the New Years party for 1959 in the club house and bring in the year 1960. Like I said the club house was usable but we really had quite a bit of finishing work to do to complete it.

With the main clubhouse being usable for our operations also had to renovate the small clubhouse into a dwelling for a care taker and that also took a bit of time but we certainly needed a caretaker. The few years that we used that building for all our activities were certainly good years. Although we were a little less active in our conservation work and more of a building society we certainly had some good meetings and some good social times while we were there. The first caretaker was chap named George Walters and he started fairly early in 1960 but he passed away in l962 and since that time we have had six different caretakers

That is the story of the initial building of the clubhouse which is the center of our organization and, of course, there has been a lot of building since to bring the various disciplines we have into operation.