Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Fish and game club updating outdoor range

For the Lakeland Regional.

Residents of Cold Lake will soon have a new range to shoot their long-range firearms.
File Photo
 Firearm enthusiasts will soon have a place to take their restricted rifles and handguns, at least if the local shooting club is able to get its targets lined up quickly.

The Cold Lake Fish and Game Club edged closer to renewing its restricted firearm certification for two of its ranges after Cold Lake City Council approved the repurposing of a $100,000 grant originally intended for an indoor shooting range at the June 28 council meeting.

The grant will now be used to construct berms according to the new government standards, allowing the club to present the ranges to the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) in Edmonton and enable the club's members to use restricted firearms on its 600-metre rifle range and its 100-metre handgun range. The club's certification currently is scheduled to expire on December 31.

“It's excellent that we are able to reallocate some of the money intended for our indoor projects to our outdoor projects,” said club president Rick Jackson. “This will enable us to complete the berms in a short order.”

Jackson added that he expects to finish work on the berms right away and the club should have its paperwork in place by the end of July, though he conceded it is anyone's guess when the CFO will be able to follow up and grant the full certification.

Council expressed some concerns that an engineering report had not been conducted for the berms, but a few councillors argued that getting started on the work was more important than waiting for one.

“If you don't help now, when are you going to get it done?” asked Coun. Darrell MacDonald. “If this is going to make the range safer, I'm all for it.”

Mayor Craig Copeland said the range is a necessary feature in the community, to give residents a safe and secure place for target shooting.

“We desperately need people to be in a controlled environment with these guns,” said Copeland. “If we don't support it, the question comes to where do people shoot their guns in Cold Lake?”

Jackson noted that with the two ranges complete, members would be able to use any legal firearm available in Canada at the club, though the club is still trying to decide if any restrictions on the caliber of ammunition will be placed on users. The 600-metre range is the only one of its kind in Alberta.

“With a permanent restricted certification, the year round capabilities are going to be fantastic,” noted Jackson. He also added that he was hoping to bring in more shooting competitions to the range, which would help boost the local economy. He estimated a tournament could bring in up to $10,000 in revenue.

MacDonald added that he was excited to see the new possibilities the range would bring for shooters in the area.

“I like this idea because I'm one of those guys that shoots in the pits when I get my rifles,” noted MacDonald.

The shooting club has about 200 members, though Jackson added he gets two the three calls each day inquiring about the club's ability to host restricted firearms.

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