The Board of Directors would first like to thank our members for your continued support through these difficult times. Everyone, in one way or another is going through financial hardships as less money comes into our households but bills keep sending it out. This is also the same for Abbotsford Fish and Game Club.

We have seen enormous support from you, our membership, in deciding to keep up with your renewals, even while the Club remains closed under a Public Health Order. Over 77% of our members have paid their memberships on time and less than 3% indicated that they are unable to continue being members at AFGC. We expect many of the remaining members to renew their memberships when this crisis is under control and people find themselves back at work again. As promised, we will give those members a chance to renew before taking on any new members from our waitlist.

The Board of Directors are all anxious to see the range reopen. It’s impossible to know when this might happen. It all, ultimately, falls on Dr. Henry to let us know when we can start. But it’s not quite that simple.

As AFGC, we are both a business – the range, and a sport – the shooting. When we are allowed to open again, it will be because Dr. Henry has allowed us to open either as a business, or as a sport.

The task of reopening sports in BC has been given to ViaSport, the organization that manages sport in BC. It distributes over $16 million in Provincial Government funding. It also is the BC organization that manages the links to the National Teams, Olympic Teams and the National Sports Organizations. It is pretty much at the center of most sports in BC.

ViaSport is looking at a phased approach to reopening sport that limits group size, maintains physical distancing, and minimizes physical contact. Initially, this will focus on practice and skill development, not competition.

In order for a sport to reopen in BC, the PSO, the Provincial Sport Governing Body for a sport, must submit a plan that includes considerations for what types of facilities can reopen, how to clean, how to maintain physical spacing, who can participate, equipment sharing, and hundreds of other details. The plan will then be reviewed by ViaSport and finally approved by Bonnie Henry and the Ministry of Health.

The PSO for shooting is the BC Target Sports Association, and for archery, it’s the BC Archery Association. Both are working together to get our sports back up and running. This process is controlled by the government, all we can do is be ready when the opportunity presents itself. Both shooting and archery are well ahead in having plans developed.

So, what might this look like? It’s hard to say for sure but expect that physical distancing will reduce the number of people who can be on the range at any time. Also expect that booking ahead or showing up and being disappointed with a long waitlist are a potential trade-off. Expect to be able to shoot as a family group, but not any closer that 2 meters from your shooting friends. Expect to bring hand sanitizer to the range with you. You get the picture, it’s very similar to what we’re seeing almost everywhere else. We are going to have to follow these rules, or a set of rules very similar to these, if we want to reopen the ranges.

And, of course, when? It depends. It depends on a lot of things and none of them are under our control.

We will continue looking at our opportunities to open as soon as it is safe to do so, and we can legally re-open. Until then, use laser trainers and dry fire practice to keep up your skills while home.

Abbotsford Fish and Game Club Board of Directors