The establishment of a ’boutique’ rifle range in Rocksberg, will most likely be decided on by the local council within the next month with the Queensland Sporting Shooters Association of Australia hoping for a reasoned outcome.
President of Queensland SSAA branch, Geoff Jones, said that the organisation had paid a considerable amount of money to have acoustic testing carried out at the site after objections from neighbours.
The private land situated in a gully between Morayfield and Caboolture had been used by recreational shooters in an informal capacity for a number of years, however, the SSAA is hoping to make it a formal range under its auspices to help cater for a growing number of shooters in the area.
“Our membership has been growing and we’re finding that our range in Belmont is becoming crowded, so we’re hoping to create an official range on the land,” Mr Jones said.
He said the SSAA has a policy of purchasing suitable land and building fully compliant ranges to satisfy not only the growing membership, but the strict governance of the sport. He said the nature of the land meant it would be little more than a 100m range.
That hasn’t satisfied one nearby resident who is objecting to the range citing scared livestock and environmental concerns, even though shooting has occurred there informally for nearly 20 years.
On ABC radio last week, Michael Davies-Graham, who lives a kilometre from the site, said that the nearby Caboolture River would be somehow contaminated. He refuted that the noise test showed levels way below the limit, claiming that more than one gun fired at a time would dramatically increase the sound.
“The noise report didn’t take into account multiple gunshots at a time which greatly increases the volume of noise,” he said.
“I mean if 10 shots are fired simultaneously it basically doubles the noise.”
Mr Davies-Graham is reported to have lived in the area for eight years. The range in question has been reportedly active since 1994 with recreational shooters allowed onto the land by its owner nearly every weekend.
His objection to the SSAA’s Material Change of Use application, required to build a facility that would conform with strict legislation, may influence council’s decision. However, Mr Jones said that he was hopeful council would appreciate the lengths the SSAA has gone to in ensuring full compliance.
“All we can do is follow the law and the Act that is there and we go to great pains to abide by,” he said during the radio interview. “So we would simply have to rely on the fact that we do meet all the necessary requirements and hope the concerns are a perception rather than a reality.”
Public submissions were accepted by council until last Friday. The council meets each fortnight with its next meeting tomorrow, although there is no indication on the council agenda that this matter will be brought up then and is more likely to be considered in two weeks.