Shotover makeover could cost gun club its home.
The long-established Wakatipu Gun Club could be a casualty of Queenstown Lakes District Council’s proposed $37 million sewerage scheme on the Shotover Delta.
The club’s range is right in the sights of QLDC’s Project Shotover, which aims to build a new treatment plant to discharge sewage from the effluent ponds on to delta land.
As a result, QLDC project manager Martin O’Malley is discussing alternative locations with the club.
Other potential QLDC-owned sites for a new range include land alongside the Victoria Flats landfill, the closed Tucker Beach tip and the former Arrowtown sewage ponds.
Another possibility is to leave the gun club where it is and site the treatment plant at the other end of the effluent ponds.
The new treatment plant was originally to be built in 2011 but O’Malley says that might be pushed back.
Moving the gun club is high on his priority list, however, because he anticipates it won’t be easy to get consent:
“You hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”
The club’s operated since the 1800s, according to member Revell Buckham, whose forebears were members: “It’s probably the longest-surviving sports club in the Queenstown district.”
It was originally based where Skyline’s lower gondola terminal is now, then relocated – probably in the 1930s – to Atley Downs at Arthurs Point before moving to its present location in the late 80s, he says.
“It is increasingly difficult to find a location, whether it’s urban sprawl or just the pressure put on land within the Wakatipu Basin, which is of sufficient size and where there’ll be next to no nuisance to neighbouring properties,” Buckham says.
“Gun clubs all over the country are facing those sorts of problems – they are inherently noisy, albeit only about once a week. “Unfortunately, some people think guns and killing people are what [gun clubs] are associated with.”
Wakatipu Gun Club brings a lot of visitors to town for competitions – including about 500 for an Australasian championship 18 months ago – and the range is also used for safety training by organisations like the police.
The club, with 50-60 members, has also produced New Zealand reps.
QLDC charges a peppercorn rental of just $1 a year for the site.