Clubs sick of broken promises of a Gympie shooting range
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
FIRST let me compliment Robert Hanson for his succinct, accurate and very readable Letter to the Editor.
He gives good reasons as to how the three tiers of government have failed Gympie with its innumerable broken promises over a 26-year period and gives good reasons as to its importance to our community.
He asks in his first line: "Where are the arguments against a Rifle Range”. Of course there are no good arguments, that's why the silence is deafening. The reasons are complicated and need an investigation, not by a Caesar Judging Caesar government whitewash, but by independent civilians. We law abiding firearm owners are again the "meat in the sandwich”.
Mayor Mick Curran has twice publicly stated to the CRCA that council has no intentions of selling off the current 1000-acre Victory Range Complex for residential housing, and we all sincerely hope that it is councils genuine intention.
I attended a meeting with the Minister of Department of Environment at Parliament House in 2013, the staff took notes and the Minister asked the then current Mayor Ron Dyne what council intended to do with the Victory Range Complex (that had at that time five shooting clubs, four with short term leases).
Ron Dyne hesitated and then said, "Council wishes to sell it for housing”.
The Minister asked Cr Dyne how much land was in the area and he asked the Gympie Council Director of Planning Michael Hartley and he answered, 'about a 1000 acres'.
The Minister said "that's right in the central area of Gympie is it not?”
Cr Dyne answered in the affirmative.
The Minister then said: "Well, how much money is that 4000 quarter acre blocks, minimum $100,000 for each block? How much is that? One of his staff said, "$4 billion”.
The Minister said, "Million? Billion?” and the staff member said again "Billion”.
The Minister continued: "Well that should allow council to have a 'few bob' to relocate the new Range Complex to Corella”.
He asked Ron Dyne: "Has council any plans to commit money to do this relocation?”.
Mayor Dyne replied in the negative.
Even so the Minister did repeat in writing, an Agreement in Principle to release the Corella Wood Road Forestry area to freehold in care of the Gympie Regional Council for a shooting complex.
Council had only to answer four questions. Before council had fully answered those questions a year or more had gone past and the Labor government had replaced the minister, the new minister stated he would re-instate the agreement in principle, but included the 5 to 1 land /money swap.
In January 2017, at a meeting of delegates from all the clubs at a CRCA meeting, Mayor Mick Curran repeated that council had no intention of selling the Victory Range site, and promised that he would move a motion to use $2 million dollars to purchase a new range complex site.
As over a year has gone by and council has yet to find any land to purchase, the CRCA wrote to council earlier this year and asked to use the Victory Range site for an underground range facility, as they had stated they had no wish to sell the land for residential housing and council owned the land freehold. So why not?
Its easy to see why the State Government is reluctant to be generous, when they see council as having such a huge financial benefit, but now another element has arisen, as the Rifle Range Safety Zone has locked up this area for over 100 years council informs us that we have the second largest koala colony in Queensland on the Victory site.
The koala's have thrived with the shooters for a 100 years so council could have no objections on this basis for preventing our underground range project and improvements to the present facilities, or sell the Victory Range Complex and come up with the full amount of money for a full relocation of all the shooting clubs. Rifle clubs are sick of broken promises.
PRESIDENT OF COOLOOLA RANGE COMPLEX ASSOCIATION