Collector gun range rejected by Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council

A controversial gun range, proposed to sit between Canberra and Goulburn, has been rejected by a council this week, bringing to a close months of bitter argument.

The development application proposed a recreational gun range to be built at a property near Collector.

Former Australian Targeting Systems chief executive Paul Burns outside of a mobile firing range at the proposed Samuel's Run gun range. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Former Australian Targeting Systems chief executive Paul Burns outside of a mobile firing range at the proposed Samuel's Run gun range. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Landowner Fiona Burns submitted the application.

However, it followed a previous application submitted and subsequently withdrawn by the defence force's main provider of live fire shooting facilities, Australian Target Systems.

Mrs Burns' husband, Paul Burns, is a former chief executive and current board member of Australian Target Systems.

Despite the company's assertion that it was not affiliated with the second application, some residents remained skeptical because of the family's connections to the company.

In the second application the gun range, named Samuel's Run, was significantly smaller and live firing would have been further from neighbouring properties than previously.

More than 50 people who registered to speak about the application packed the public gallery at the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council meeting on Wednesday night.

A significant majority spoke in favour of it, in contrast to previous meetings and public submissions which were overwhelmingly against the proposal.

Speakers supporting the gun range claimed it would be beneficial for veterans and emergency services, who could use the range as a form of outdoor therapy.

They claimed it would allow the defence industry to test weapons and technology in the region instead of overseas. It would also provide a new location for competitive shooters to practice, they said.

It was the council's position that the range could not be used for commercial purposes and must remain a recreational facility, which supporters criticised.

Paul Burns spoke at the meeting and said Samuel's Run was his way of giving back to the veteran community and described objectors to the proposal as "ungratefuls".

Residents of the area had been vocal about the impact the noise and stress caused by live shooting would have on their lives.

They said the council must place the benefit of residents over the commercial interests of the gun range.

The council voted to reject the application by a count of eight to two. Its reasoning was that the gun range was not compatible with the general aims of the region.

The council determined it would have significant adverse impacts on the amenity of the surrounding area and be contrary to public interest.

The decision may be challenged in the NSW Land and Environment Court.