Gun store, daycare to become mall neighbours

08/29/2012 08:59 EDT | Updated 10/29/2012 05:12 EDT
Parents of children who attend a daycare east of Ottawa are up in arms as a hunting store that features guns is set to move in two doors down.

Pro Nature is in the midst of opening in a Clarence-Rockland mall that also includes the Tiny Hoppers daycare. The mall is about 35 kilometres east of Ottawa.

Worried mother Katie Riopel said she has safety concerns due to the proximity of guns and young children.

"My personal fear would be that someone would come in after purchasing a firearm and open fire on the kids," she said. "[It could be] someone that's not completely there."

Parents have petitioned to have city council stop the hunting store's opening.

Councillors' hands tied

Father Chris Piersol, who only found out about the nursery's new neighbour two weeks ago, is one of 319 who have signed the petition so far.

It was a big disappointment, he said, when he

found out Monday the city can't stop Pro Nature from moving in. There are no zoning bylaws to stop it.

"[It is] pretty much shock ... it's kind of common sense, you would think, that you wouldn't have a gun and ammunition store going up next to a daycare," he said.

The councillors expressed their helplessness, too, because there is nothing they can do, they say.

"It makes me feel very sad for the people," said Bernard Payer, a councillor in Clarence-Rockland.

Daycare could lose business

But some parents pledge they might take their children out of the daycare.

"Whether right or wrong, people are going to react to having a guns and ammo store next door, or two doors down," said mother Melissa Clarke.

"I don't think that's been taken into account."

Pro Nature did not immediately reply to an interview request.