Sport

Council in the shooters’ sites

A NEW council report on the Corella shooting range has been blasted as a continuation of delaying tactics which have held up the project for more than a decade.

The planned facility, touted as a major sports tourist attraction for the Gympie region, has suffered a year of what shooters say is double talk and delays.

They say shooting sports are the victims of competing recreational land uses, which appear to have better connected support in council and state bureaucracies.

The council was recently caught out backing a report which appeared to support the facility, but effectively doomed it.

It stressed council trail riding plans for the Curra state forest did not imply any bias against shooting, but later recommended that the Corella section, the only site ever under discussion for the shooting range, should be kept for forestry.

The catch is that track and trail riding are seen as a use consistent with forestry but shooting is not.

Other parts of the forest have been described as unsuitable for shooting, forestry or almost anything else because of terrain described by infrastructure councillor Larry Friske as "vertical".

Now the council has put out for public comment a report which, while recognising the area under discussion is Corella, has other traps.

It attributes prohibitive costs, up to $5 million, for development of the Corella site for a shooting range and says the shooting clubs are unlikely to fund this.

Cheaper options generally favour keeping things as they are, with shooting sports mostly on leased council land elsewhere.

Although described by the council as a foundation for the future of shooting sports, shooter representative Ron Owen says it effectively denies them a future.

Much of the leased land, he says, is wanted by the council for real estate, with shooters able to be evicted on 60 days notice.

"They have ignored the submissions of shooters and the hundreds of people who have signed petitions to the council and to parliament," he said.

The cost estimates also ignored the willingness of shooters to carry out most of the development work themselves.

"It may take them five years, it might take them 20," he said.

"I'm not saying they would not want some help from the council," he said, but the council would make many millions of dollars from the sale of the current sites for development.

Topics:  gympie regional council shooters

Gympie Times