Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

Auckland Pistol Club fears closure after noise complaints

The APC, Auckland Pistol Club, in Brookby. Photo / Michael Craig
The APC, Auckland Pistol Club, in Brookby. Photo / Michael Craig

The Auckland Pistol Club fears it could face closure after a new neighbour made numerous noise complaints about the sound of firing weapons.

The stoush saw the club closed for two months earlier this year and it could be forced to spend $500,000 on sound mitigation measures, according to club officials.

The tension began when the land next to the club in Brookby, Auckland, was subdivided and the buyers moved into their new home several months ago.

The 47-year-old club has 426 members, making it one of the largest pistol clubs in New Zealand. It only operates on Wednesday afternoons and weekends, and says it has never otherwise had issues with neighbours.

Club president Steve Welsh told the Herald on Sunday members were "frustrated, angry and really disappointed".

"We're all gobsmacked," he said. "There's a big sign on our gate saying 'Auckland Shooting Complex' so it's hard to miss that you're going to be living next to us.

"We've spent $40,000 so far and had to close the club for two months to get a sound engineer in and get work done around the club, and prepare a report for the council.

"We could end up having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and have to close some of the ranges."

The work included getting an electrician to install a timer system which would alert members to how long they had been shooting for.

The club allowed members to fire for five minutes at a time, followed by a 10-minute break.

Welsh, who has been club president for 11 years, said the club had so far paid for the mitigation out of its bank account, but funds were getting low.

"I don't know how we'll pay for any more of this, if we need to," Welsh said. "We might have to ask members for donations, or set up a Givealittle, or take out a loan.

The Auckland Pistol Club in Brookby. Photo / Michael Craig
The Auckland Pistol Club in Brookby. Photo / Michael Craig


"Our members come from north of Auckland and as south as the Waikato, and when we host national and North Island championships, we get people coming from all over.
"If we go, there'll be nowhere else for people to go in the region."

Welsh said the new neighbours had not made any direct contact with the club. The neighbours declined to comment when approached by the Herald on Sunday.

Auckland Council resource consents compliance manager Steve Pearce confirmed the council had received noise complaints relating to the club from a neighbouring property.

"We are currently working with both the property owner and the club to see if any resource consent conditions have been breached, and whether they can be resolved," he said.

"At this stage, we have not taken any formal enforcement action. While our investigations are under way, we are unable to comment further."

The club operated under a historic resource consent.

Auckland Pistol Club

• Established in 1969.
• One of the biggest clubs in New Zealand. Hosts North Island and national championships.
• Has more than 420 members of a range of ages and abilities. Many travel from north of Auckland and up from Waikato.
• $225 for a 12-month membership.
• 5.4ha block bought off the council about 30 years ago.
• Closed for two months and spent $40,000 so far to mitigate sound levels.

- NZ Herald

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