Waitemata clay shooters under the gun
Clay target shooter Natalie Rooney may have won New Zealand's first Olympic medal at this years games but Unitary Plan changes have thrown the future of one of her practise grounds, the Waitemata Clay Target Club, into doubt.
An Independent Panel has agreed with an Auckland Council recommendation on the deletion of the zone's precinct status.
The property has been defined as a precinct since 1968 and zoned as an Open space-Sports and Active Recreation zone.
Where zone rules are generic for entire regions with rules for basic activities, where there is an area of particular value or local difference a precinct is applied sometimes allowing for otherwise restricted activities like shooting.
The council proposed to delete the precinct on the grounds of adverse noise effects on neighbouring properties.
A group of neighbours have been campaigning for over four years seeking to restrict the clubs activities, with one - who did not want to be named - saying the guns can go off hundreds of times a day and "you cannot muffle a 12 gauge shotgun".
The club currently operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am to 5pm and every second Sunday, though sessions can be booked seven days a week.
It has been operating since 1966 and was the shooting venue for the 1990 Commonwealth Games.
Evidence presented to an Independent Hearing Panel by club member Laurence Coppins last year said "the range is used [for] provincial district, island and national championships for the New Zealand Clay Target Association".
"It continues to be used for training by some members of the New Zealand Commonwealth and Olympic Teams and is the shooting venue for the 2017 World Masters Games."
Waitemata Clay Target Club president Allan Campbell says they are still digesting the news.
"It's all kind of fresh. It's a challenge but we'll have top see what the implications are for the future."
He says they're looking forward to some clarification from Auckland Council on the way forward.
Auckland Council media relations manager Katherine Forbes says the panel is of the view that the matter is best addressed through a dedicated hearing, either via a resource consent or a future plan change.
The council has not indicated as to when this hearing may take place.