By Cole Parkinson
With spring comes the re-opening of the Municipal District of Taber shooting complex.
Coming into the newest season, the Taber Shooting Foundation made two requests to the M.D. council.
As in previous years, they asked the M.D. of Taber to help out with some of their services throughout the year.
“Mowing of the grass, three times a year. Crushed asphalt distribution — path to 100-metre shelter, golf cart paths on the east and west sides of the 600-metre range, the pad is for the 50-metre range, 25 metres in length going east width from north berm to the edge of the shelter and then in front of toilet and golf cart shed. They are also looking for grade roads to clear snow. Weed spraying and control as needed along fence lines and parking lot. Painting the yellow firing and cease-fire lines and wording on 600 metre and 200-metre ranges. Grooming the 50-metre range with fill dirt. That is kind of in our contract that we do that anyway,” explained Coun. John Turcato at M.D. council’s regular meeting on Mar.12.
While the request has come in before, council wondered how much longer the foundation would be needing the M.D. to take care of these sort of items.
“At that time we had anticipated that they would be taking care of these items themselves but certainly, a lot of these fall within our scope of work in respect to things we do out and about,” said CAO Derrick Krizsan.
Past financial commitments for this sort of work was right around the $8,000 mark and they expect it to be close to the same for 2019.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure on how this agreement works. We are going to look at the budget for a skeet range development which is ($203,000), which I see as a significant investment. And then this is approximately an $8,000 equivalent to operational matters. I’m just trying to figure out where the M.D. lands as far as what our move forward is with recreation. Is the shooting foundation regarded (the same as) how we look at the M.D. park? We fix it up so we also do the same for them? Or did we provide the infrastructure and we will consider the other matter?” inquired Deputy Reeve Tamara Miyanaga.
With approximately 450 members in tow at the time, and more projected to come with the finishing of the skeet/trap range, there will be a time where the M.D. hands off the majority of maintenance items to the organization.
“Within a couple of years, if that (skeet/trap range) is built, I feel they will be able to afford everything themselves. Being a tractor and mowers and hiring to do weed spraying,” said Coun. Leavitt Howg.
While the skeet/trap range isn’t going to be completed until next year, Krizsan expects the membership number to break the 1,000 mark quite quickly.
“They are generating $80-$90,000 a year right now that they have dumped back into shooting facilities and buildings,” he added.
Other councillors also saw the foundation as the body who will take control down the road.
With the organization still being fairly young since its inception, over time the transition will become more apparent once they gain more traction and more members.
“I think over time some of this stuff is going to be taken on by the shooting foundation but they don’t have a lot of new people stepping forward to do the work. I think they are the same as every other volunteer organization, it’s the same people doing all the work. It is one of the things where we will have to continue to help them and that is just how recreation is,” said Turcato. “They are doing everything they should be doing and they aren’t that old.”
One of the strengths council listed of the foundation was the dedication of its members.
With that in mind though, council wanted to make sure they had a clear message for how they wanted to proceed in the relationship.
“I think it is being run very well and I think Leavitt is right. I think it is important for us to convey what our intentions are moving forward,” continued Miyanaga.
A motion was made to provide in-kind service as outlined in the letter with the $8,000 estimate and was passed unanimously.
The other request stemming from the Taber Shooting Foundation was in regard to waiving fees charged to the youth group.
“We write to you today to ask if the M.D. would waive the regular fee charged to participants of events at the Shooting Complex for all youths who attend events hosted by the TSF Youth Group. As our funding is limited, and we have ambitious plans to offer a wider range of programming to youths in 2019, every dollar we spend is important. We hope the M.D. sees our programming as beneficial to local area youths and is willing to work with us, so we can continue to offer the best opportunities in the shooting sports for our youths,” stated the letter from Shane Bonner, the Taber Shooting Foundation Youth Group chair.
Bonner also stated they had around 30 youths in attendance at their bi-weekly summer events where all equipment is provided and the kids are only asked to bring their own hearing protection.
“They have been doing very well with their youth memberships,” added Turcato. “Some of their rationale for this is if they were charging these kids, some won’t be participating. Some of the kids, that is the reason they are there is because it’s free. To get them started, I don’t think this is a bad thing.”
While council was in favour of waiving the fees, they also asked if there was a chance the kids would be interested in giving back to the community with other volunteer programs.
“Do they do a spring cleanup where they all come out and help? I’m a strong believer that you can give a group money but maybe they should help with something. I know with our Ag Society, the work groups we donate to throughout the year, help with Canada Day. Whether it’s run a gate or sell t-shirts but they are doing something in-kind for us,” said Coun. Jen Crowson.
One of the ideas was to see if they would be interested in helping with the M.D.’s Roadside Cleanup initiative this spring. A motion was made to waive the fees for youth group and send a letter to outline the Roadside Cleanup Program to see if the youth group would be interested in participating which was passed unanimously.