East Bay Regional Park District directors have voted unanimously to close the 53-year-old Chabot Gun Club near San Leandro and Castro Valley because of extensive lead contamination.
The vote came at the end of a lengthy meeting at the Redwood Canyon Golf Course in Castro Valley that began Tuesday afternoon and extended into the evening and was attended by more than 400 people.
Among them were a large number of gun club supporters who spoke against closing the facility, which has operated at Anthony Chabot Regional Park since 1963.
In a memo to the board, East Bay Park Regional Park District general manager Robert Doyle recommended closing the gun club because the site is contaminated with more than 50 years of accumulated lead and poses “significant risks to human health and the environment.”
Doyle recommended giving the gun club six months to wind down its operations at the park but the directors voted to give the club 12 months.
“Allowing lead contamination to remain on public watershed lands is not consistent with the district’s mission of environmental stewardship,” Doyle said.
Doyle also said that because of the lead pollution and complex new regulatory requirements, managing stormwater “will remain an ongoing concern that will require substantial oversight and the long-term commitment of staff and consultant services.”
The general manager said the problem of lead contamination “is an issue faced by all gun ranges that have historically used lead ammunition and a particular problem for public agencies who have leased public lands for such uses.”
Doyle said other local shooting ranges have closed in recent years because of remedial orders from water control officials, including the Peninsula Gun Club in Menlo Park and the Pacific Rod and Gun Club at Lake Merced in San Francisco.
Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News