Range shot in the dark
WHEN Gympie Regional Council writes to the Sporting Shooters Association about the proposed Corella shooting complex, it will be the first time anyone has sought the views of the people who would be using it.
A combined site for all shooting sports at the near-Gympie end of the Curra State Forest has been strongly advocated by Gympie gun dealer and enthusiast Ron Owen, although some have questioned the extent of his support among shooters themselves.
Mr Owen claims the project has been talked about for 15 years, but nothing ever seems to happen.
Infrastructure councillor Larry Friske says the council is as keen as anyone to make progress on the project, but the problem is finding and insisting on the right site.
SSAA state and national president Geoff Jones says his organisation has never been consulted, despite representing 60,000 Queensland sporting shooters, a number which he says amounts to 10 times the combined membership of all other shooter groups in the state.
"I must admit I was one of the original group of combined shooting groups that inspected the site 10 years ago or more," Mr Jones said.
"That was long before the Gympie connections mentioned it and before the council got involved, as far as I know," he said.
"Since that early meeting, we've never been involved or consulted on any development of the project.
"I've been president for 10 years and no one's asked me during that time.
"I checked with my predecessor and no one asked him either."
Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett expressed surprise no-one had asked the shooters for their opinion, after planning councillor Ian Petersen successfully moved this be rectified.
Council shooting range negotiator Rae Gate seconded the motion, which was also supported by her fellow negotiator Larry Friske.
"We need to obtain the right land, suitable land and not just the land that is being bandied around at the moment," he said.