The Environmental Protec-tion Agency (EPA) says that a proposed gun range in Subryanville has not yet been approved and complaints by residents will be considered by the Environmental Assess-ment Board during its review.
Acting Director of the EPA Kemraj Parsram told Stabroek News that he wanted to emphasise to the public that despite the project being publicised via the local media, it is yet to be approved by the EPA.
“The key thing that you have to realise here is that the decision that was made is that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is not required. It is not an approval of the project. The EIA not being required means that we don’t need to do an assessment and that is typical for similar projects where there is no significant impact to the environment. It is not foreseen by the EPA to have any significant impacts on water, land and whatever,” Parsram said, while pointing out that even though it might affect traffic and increase noise pollution, the EPA does not list those as significant impacts.
“…That doesn’t mean that we have approved the project. Just that we have made a decision that there is no need for an EIA. What we are going to do now is we will review the public’s concerns,” Parsram added.
While the residents of Subryanville had previously said that their submissions were not being acknowledged by the EPA, Parsram said that the Association received all of their submissions and they will be reviewed by the Environmental Assess-ment Board as will all the submissions of the developer.
Parsram also said the EPA expected that the location of the gun range would have caused some outrage within the community and as a result had told the developer that an alternative location should be sought.
“So, the developer is already aware that he has to look for another location. But just for the process and fairness to the developers, we placed it in the list,” Parsram explained.
The residents had also pointed out that it is against the law to have a business or any commercial activity taking place in a residential area. However, Parsram pointed out that one of the criteria for the project to be fully approved is for the developer to have approval from the Mayor and City Council or the Central Housing and Planning Authority.
He added that the various projects should be brought to the board sometime soon and a decision should be made within two to three weeks and it will be publicised.
In a statement yesterday, the EPA reiterated that no authorization has thus far been granted to the project.
Last month, the EPA published a notice indicating it had received 11 applications from various companies for Environmental Authorisa-tion. One of the companies, S&S Security Inc., applied for the authorisation of an indoor gun range in Subryanville. According to information received by Stabroek News, the company’s target clientele would include licensed firearm holders, security companies, the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force, members of the Guyana National Rifle Association and other military and paramilitary organisations in the Caribbean.
Residents of the community subsequently indicated that they were having a hard time obtaining the requisite information from the EPA about the project. They were also unsure as to where to lodge their objections.
One resident, Vidyaratha Kissoon, had related that he had sent an email to the Agency inquiring about the specific location of the business and other details but had received no response. Concerns were also raised about the imminent increase in traffic in the area from the commercial activity, which will result in the residential area becoming a business zone, which might in turn lead to other businesses opening in the area.