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Lease for Kodiak’s outdoor firing range gets shot down by Borough Assembly over lead management plan

(Kodiak Island Sportsman’s Association/Facebook)
(Kodiak Island Sportsman’s Association/Facebook)

The Kodiak Island Sportsman’s Association wants to establish a new lease with the borough to operate the island’s main outdoor firing range. The KISA also operates an indoor shooting range off of Monashka Bay Road, north of city limits.

But last week on April 4 the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly voted no on a five-year lease for the Salonie Creek Rifle Range, continuing the range’s years’ long gap without a formal agreement. The proposed lease also included a separate site where a caretaker for the range can live.

According to Borough documents, a former lease between the Borough and the Sportsman’s Association for the land where Salonie Creek Rifle Range is located expired in August of 2019. The Borough said staff turnover and shortages in the Manager’s department delayed the completion of a new lease for the land.

Now, Borough staff and the Sportsman’s Association have drawn up a new five-year lease that also includes a section called the lead management plan.

But Assembly member Ryan Sharratt said there’s a problem. The current wording in the plan could potentially bankrupt the nonprofit by implying that the Kodiak Island Sportsman’s Association would be financially responsible for removing all lead contamination at the range going back to World War 2.

“The lease says that it [KISA] shall submit that plan to the KIB for approval. The KIB is not an authoritative figure to approve a lead management plan, that’s through the EPA,” Sharratt explained. “So I think that this lease needs to actually go back into a work session and have some of those details ironed out. Failure to do that would potentially bankrupt KISA, if they were to execute this lease, and I can’t in good conscience do that,” he said.

The line in question states the, “lessee shall remove all lead from the property that exceeds permissible levels at its own expense utilizing a qualified person or business.”

Borough Manager Aimee Williams told the Assembly that was not the intent of the lead management section in the lease and the Borough does not want to put undue responsibility on the Sportsman’s Association.

“It means that [KISA is] going to start looking at what is sitting on the outside of the hillsides and collecting it from year to year and recycling that as a precious resource, instead of being responsible for all of that. So although we did have the attorney look at this, I do agree that the last sentence should come out of there because it does imply their responsibility would be way more than what their responsibility should be,” Williams said.

Ultimately the Borough Assembly voted the proposed lease down, five to two, so that Borough staff and the Sportsman’s Association could revise certain aspects of the lease, including the lead management plan.

The new lease will be discussed during an upcoming Kodiak Island Borough Assembly work session, and the next one is scheduled for Thursday, April 11.