By Cole Parkinson
With the completion of the Municipal District of Taber Shooting Complex in 2015, the Taber Shooting Foundation is looking for further development within the grounds.
A delegation was in council chambers during the M.D.’s regular meeting on August 28 to inquire about how soon the upgrades could come to the complex.
“We understand that your workload is heavy and behind schedule because of the flood. Of course, many areas in Alberta have that same problem. We were informed that you may not be able to work on our skeet/trap range at all until 2019 or later but we wanted to come in to give you an idea as to what our plan for development is for the future and indicate to you that the skeet/trap area is our next focus. We have had many, many requests from people wanting to shoot shotguns, that’s why our focus is to get that ready,” said Taber Shooting Foundation president Morgan Rockenbach. “We wanted to ask you if you would consider, if possible, working in the winter and the ground is not frozen if you would consider doing some of that work.”
Upon inquiry, director of infrastructure Craig Pittman worked up a summary of work to develop the skeet and trap ranges at the complex.
Work for the ranges includes removing and salvaging topsoil, building an access road to the parking/staging area, building the parking/staging area, level the shooting area and clearing the area, replacing salvaged topsoil and seed.
An estimated 8,5000 cubic metres of topsoil, 25,000 cubic metres of common qualities and 325 cubic metres of surfacing gravel would need to be moved for a total of 33,5000 cubic metres of material.
Pittman estimated this work to equal out to roughly 140 hours (three weeks) of working hours in prime conditions.
A cost estimate was also provided with one D7 bulldozer at $24,000, three motor scrappers at $115,000, two motor graders at $40,000, one tractor/packer combo at $14,000, seeding at $5,000 and gravelling at $5,000 for a total estimated cost of $203,000.
With the estimate based on prime conditions, the delegation asked about the possibility of doing the work in the winter months.
“Public works built that range during the winter months and it worked out well. We thought there may be a possibility to do that again. This project isn’t nearly as extensive, that being said, we understand there is quite a bit of dirt that needs to be moved. There is a time commitment,” said Rockenbach. “It would be much appreciated.”
While the work could be completed during the winter months, council pointed out that a number of winter projects were put on hold for construction of the complex.
“We appreciate the work you’ve done out at the range, it has come a long way in a short time. In order for us to do some of the range, we had to put our winter projects on hold. Now we’re on a little bit of a catch-up, we also got hit by a spring storm that we haven’t done any road construction this year. I have road projects in my area that are probably three years behind, so you have to appreciate the priority we have here. Our roads are our first priority and will continue to be our first priority. We are aware of your request and will try to work it in but realistically you have been told correctly. I don’t think it’s going to happen right away, we’re trying to be honest with you instead of stringing you along,” said Reeve Brian Brewin.
In the winter time, Pittman stated the work would probably take an extra week to complete.
A question from council was raised about whether or not the council at the time made a commitment to a deadline to finish the trap/skeet area.
Both the M.D. and the Taber Shooting Foundation agreed that there was no deadline put in place.
“With the trap/skeet area, I am the one that fields the majority of the calls that come through. We realized there was no fixed timeline. The one area that the M.D. has to come in and service is that area for the skeet/trap and Craig has said it’s about three weeks of work,” stated Allen Herbst, vice-president of the Taber Shooting Foundation.
That being said, the delegation did highlight the fact they were unable to do the amount of work needed without a significant contribution from the M.D.
”Much of what takes place out at the range is out of the capacity of the Taber Shooting Foundation executives to deal with. The magnitude of the project was huge and it was a partnership,” said Herbst.
He also stated that most of the maintenance done at the range was far beyond their measures and the M.D. provided most of the equipment to do the necessary work.
“The range is so big that we can’t do the mowing ourselves in some areas. Those types of things are out of necessity and an ongoing relationship. We’re doing the best we can at our end with construction. I don’t ever see that relationship being severed between us.”
The lack of skeet/trap area has also cost the complex memberships, according to Herbst.
As he deals with most of the phone calls and booking of events, Herbst has heard from several people who have terminated their membership due to the lack of a shotgun area.
“It has cost us memberships, some of those took memberships with the intentions of doing the shotgun programming out there,” he explained. “The completion of that area, overall to our range, is very important. It was on the original area management plan.”
In terms of how many memberships they currently have, Herbst stated they have 500 memberships with an age range from youth to seniors and an estimated 75 per cent of the memberships coming from M.D. residents.
Memberships are $100 with a $25 deposit which comes with a key fob to access the facility and the complex can also be rented out for $250 a day.
A big portion of the funds that come to the foundation is from RCMP renting the facility and in 2018 they had rented out the shooting range for 105 days.
They have also hosted ladies nights and youth nights at the range.
“At a time, I would have said it was a pretty unique group but I have seen it is getting more broad-based,” said Coun. Tamara Miyanaga.
With additional areas being added, they expect the price of memberships to go up each time an addition is added to the complex.