$4.6m Curra sporting facility limps forward

GYMPIE Regional Council has accepted a feasibility study for a $4.6 million shooting facility in the Curra State Forest, and will now try to move the project forward with the State Government.

The long process of establishing a multi-disciplinary shooting facility in Corella, the south-eastern portion of the forest, has taken about 15 years to reach this point.

The feasibility study which was last week endorsed by the council provides the background to make an informed decision on the next step to take.

The council will now begin liaising with relevant State Government agencies to obtain a lease and development approval for the facility.

It will also ask the government to reaffirm its ongoing in-principle support for the dedication of land there, and set aside money to carry out the "site specific investigations" necessary.

In-principle support for a shooting complex in the Curra State Forest was first received in 2014 via a letter from the (then) Minister of the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing.

Agreement from the minister hinged on several things, including:

 That the council have the final preferred authority and tenure;

 All issues associated with provision of such a facility, including native title, existing use, and forest production issues, be resolved;

 Council get development approvals and sort out conflicting land use issues;

 The council commission a feasibility study and options analysis to determine the practicality, preferred location and preliminary concept layout.

Following much early targeted stakeholder engagement, a draft feasibility study and options analysis was presented to, and endorsed by, the council for public notification.

This draft feasibility study and options analysis then went on public notification until January 23, this year.

In receiving the final report last week the council was told there were several alternative recreational uses within the Curra State Forest, most specifically the use of trails for mountain.

"It is an important consideration that there may be locations in which existing recreational uses and a future shooting facility will present inherent conflicts (particularly in the south-eastern portion of the site)," it heard.

"However, given the presence of alternative mountain biking locations in the region and the ongoing implementation of trail development activities as identified in the recently received Tracks and Trails Plan, it is considered these recreational opportunities can be accommodated elsewhere."

In the meantime, Gympie shooters will continue to use the existing Victory Heights shooting complex.

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