Air pistol shooters could be rubbing shoulders with bowlers and petanque players, forming a sports hub in Western Reserve, if a scheme suggested to the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board last month goes ahead.
The proposal is to build an air pistol facility on the northern side of Bowls Orewa, within the footprint that the bowling club leases from Auckland Council.
Hibiscus Coast Air Pistol Club Executive committee member Hugh Lemmon told the local board that the club’s current location, at Wentworth College gym, has been great but that the club needs its own facility in order to cater for growth in the sport.
“We have an opportunity to establish ourselves and build a world class facility,” Mr Lemmon said. He said they have agreement in principle from the bowling club.
Hibiscus Coast Air Pistol Club president and coach Greg Yelavich is also on Bowls Orewa’s board, which is how the suggestion of building the facility there came about.
He says that while most air pistol clubs have 10 to 12 shooting bays, he hopes that the proposed centre in Orewa could have as many as 20 bays as well as clubrooms, toilets and kitchen facilities. This would enable it to attract national events and potentially establish a National Air Gun Training Academy, which would be used to train youth, disabled and able-bodied shooters to compete at national and international competitions including the Paralympics, Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games and World Cup events.
They would also be able to run school holiday programmes “to increase the skills, concentration and discipline in our local youth while enforcing the safe handling of air guns”.
Mr Yelavich says although the club will ensure soundproofing is dealt with in any facility, “probably the bowlers make more noise than the air pistol shooters do”.
The proposal will require an alteration to Bowls Orewa’s lease, and the Air Pistol club will come back to the local board as plans progress.