Surrey council has refused to approve a permit for a gun show in Cloverdale until security plans can be completely reviewed by the RCMP.
Council does not meet again until April 11, meaning the B.C. Rod and Gun Show scheduled for April 15-17 has effectively been disarmed.
Event manager Steve Bednash said Tuesday morning he’s received no such word from the city. As far as he’s concerned, the show is still going on next month.
The show had applied for a temporary use permit for the sale of firearms and ammunition for two, three-day events at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, 17763 62 Ave. It’s a continuation of an event that was held at the fairgrounds last year.
Council first considered the application for a permit on Feb. 22 at a land use meeting and gave early approval for the show to go ahead, but without the sale of ammunition.
The first event this year is scheduled to run at the Agriplex and Show Barn at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. The city’s planning and development department had recommended council approve the application for permit.
The federal National Weapons Enforcement Support Team expressed no concern and advised that all vendors and participants conform to Firearms Regulations and the Firearms Act.
However, Surrey Coun. Dave Woods, a former career police officer who was the district commander for the Cloverdale RCMP, had plenty of concerns.
“This afternoon, I had an occasion to have a conversation with our police chief… on this matter,” Woods told his council colleagues Monday night. “Unfortunately, the RCMP advise that they have only received the organizers’ post-security plan this afternoon, and they need time to review it and assess it.”
He moved that the application go back to staff so RCMP can appropriately assess it.
Mayor Linda Hepner, who had previously spoken in favour of the rod and gun show, wanted to know what kind of firearms would be at the event.
“I thought it was just hunting rifles, but I now understand it’s more than that,” Hepner told her council colleagues.
Woods said it’s his understanding handguns were also part of the show, as it was indicated in the security plan.
“And that’s one of the things the RCMP is going to be looking at,” Woods said. “And I have some reservations about that.”
The mayor said the rod and gun show is going to have to find a new date for its show as council will not have time to approve the permit before the organizers’ advertised date.
Bednash said the only handguns that were at the show last year were antiques and they were kept under glass.
He said 10,000 people attended last year’s show, which took place without incident.
Those people would have brought hundreds of thousands of dollars in spin-off revenue to Cloverdale, he estimates.
“We fully addressed the concerns of Surrey over the gun issue,” Bednash told The Leader Tuesday. “We’re hunting and fishing enthusiasts. Period.”