Council still ‘kicking the ball’ on Curra shooting range
GYMPIE region councillors will keep "kicking the ball" to keep the dream alive for a Curra State Forest shooting facility before it considers "plan B".
The council will return to negotiations with the Minister for National Parks after considering a nine-page staff report in its meeting yesterday that concluded the proposal would be impossible under current State Government conditions.
The greatest barrier for the project will be acquiring the land from the State Government through a revocation process.
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has ruled out leasing the land for the facility and will likely insist on a five-for-one land swap, estimated to cost the council $10.2 million.
Division 2 councillor Glen Hartwig suggested the council should consider other locations for the shooting range.
He said clinging to the Curra State Forest site could cost council more than finding an alternative site.
"Perhaps we've kicked it around long enough," Cr Hartwig said.
Mayor Mick Curran said that would be the backup option.
"If we don't get any traction... we go to plan B," Cr Curran said.
"We haven't given up."
Division 8 councillor James Cochrane said the Curra State Forest would be the "perfect location" for the shooting range.
"We should exhaust our options there first," he said.
"Let's get some action."
Division 1 councillor Mark McDonald said finding a different location would be a difficult task, with the range requiring a 600ha lot.
"This has been long and painful, and it's still going on," Cr McDonald said.
Cr Curran said council had to remember it was only serving as the middle man between the State Government and the Cooloola Range Complex Association, which has long advocated for the shooting range.
The council has been in talks with the state government since Campbell Newman had the top job, but the Curra State Forest was first proposed as a site for a shooting range in the late 1990s.
The Newman Government agreed to support the concept "in principle" in 2014.
The state government's "in principle" support will stand until November 30.
By that time, council must resolve issues over the revocation, Native Title and other recreational users of the state forest.
The council report said Native Title could not be addressed until revocation was settled.
All councillors voted to return to negotiations with the Queensland Minister for National Parks Steven Miles.