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Gun club may get lease

Council changes mind, but may include escape clause

Darren Stewart
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 21/03) - Council may grant the Yellowknife Shooting Club a new 20-year lease for its shooting range.

But if it does, it will include a cancellation clause in case the city wants the land back for other uses.

City council had planned to grant a temporary lease for the club until the future of the Sammy's Beach area is discussed in the general plan review this summer.

A committee recommendation to grant the club a lease for three years was on the table. At Monday's meeting, council ended up supporting a new resolution for staff to look into a 20-year lease, one that could be cancelled at any time with three years' notice.

Administration will draft a lease and bring it back to council for approval.

Barry Taylor, president of the shooting club, said he was satisfied with the direction council had taken, but said "it's not for sure yet. It has to come up in committee."

Taylor and Jare Rausch, a junior shooting club member, made submissions at the meeting asking for council to grant a long-term lease.

The club's current 29-year lease will expire in November, 2004. Taylor told council at the committee meeting that a three-year lease wasn't appropriate. He said the club had ongoing development at the range and was very reluctant to have another looming deadline. Taylor said he was also worried the club would be have to re-certify again -- a process that takes up to a year and a half -- when they went to extend the three-year lease.

Dave Nicklen, director of public safety and development for the city, said he checked with the chief firearms officer and found that a lease extension would not be grounds for re-certification.

The majority of council still supported the long-term lease.

"What I'm hearing from this club is that they're just looking for some comfort," said Coun. David McCann. "Personally I would like to support this community activity and give it the chance to succeed."