Red Deer County might soon be home to a shooting range that’s the envy of sport and professional shooters across Western Canada.
Derek Bostock is president and CEO of Red Deer Shooting Centre Inc., which is seeking to develop an indoor commercial range in McKenzie Industrial Business Park south of Red Deer.
The facility would boast a dozen shooting lanes, as well as space for retail and training activities.
“It’s a state-of-the-art facility,” said Bostock, a longtime sport shooter who grew up in Red Deer.
In fact, he said, it would rank among the best commercial indoor ranges in Canada, and perhaps North America.
“There’s never been a 50-metre range indoors that is this technologically advanced and this well-built — this big, this wide.”
His Red Deer Shooting Centre group, which includes other local businessmen, has secured a 1.7-acre lot and is currently going through the development permit process.
If all goes well, said Bostock, construction of the nearly 13,000-square-foot, two-storey building could be underway by late summer and completed in the first quarter of 2013.
Its shooting lanes — six of which would be 50 metres and six 25 metres — would be 1.2 metres wide, with a 3.7-metre (12-foot) ceiling.
An advanced ventilation system, which Bostock compares to a wind tunnel, would blow airborne contaminants away from shooters.
Noise would be absorbed by rubber tiles.
“When you’re outside the building, you’ll hear very little — if anything at all,” he said.
The centre would have an advanced rubber berm system behind the targets.
This would stop bullets quietly, absorb dust and fragments, and allow for the recycling of spent rounds.
“There really is no limit on calibre size,” said Bostock, adding that the backstop could handle any type of ammunition.
If developed, the Red Deer Shooting Centre would enable Red Deer to bid on Alberta Summer Games events and should attract high-profile competitions, like those organized by the International Defensive Pistol Association and the International Practical Shooting Confederation.
Bostock said the range would provide a valuable training facility for law enforcement officers, members of the military and other professional shooters, like security guards. An advanced target retrieval system could be programmed so that users face targets capable of 360-degree movement and varied lighting conditions. Shooters would also be able to fire while moving down range and transitioning between weapons.
With room for expansion, future plans include another 25-metre range that would be used exclusively for training, and a 360-degree shoot house.
The shoot house, explained Bostock, would allow trainees to move through a simulated building and clear threats. Currently, it’s necessary to travel to Ottawa to find such a facility, he said.
“If we can do this in Central Alberta, we will be a training hub for all of the Western provinces.”
Bostock also believes the Red Deer Shooting Centre would promote shooting sports, with instructors able to teach beginners and youths proper technique and safety. It would also provide area residents with another recreational pursuit.
“We’re going to give people the opportunity to try something new in a safe environment and a professional environment.”
Bostock is optimistic that Red Deer Shooting Centre would succeed, noting that Calgary and Edmonton each have two indoor commercial ranges and a number of outdoor ranges nearby. Central Alberta shooters have only the outdoor ranges northwest of Red Deer and at Rocky Mountain House and Olds, and limited access to a small indoor range west of the Memorial Centre.
“We feel that we’re going to attract not only people from Red Deer, but from Central Alberta and probably Edmonton and Calgary.”
Bostock said the owners of the Calgary Shooting Centre have provided valuable guidance, and that Red Deer County officials have also been very supportive.
“They’re the reason this is happening.”