Suns out, guns out: MP hits the shooting range
WITH a growing membership, a Coffs Harbour shooting organisation has been given a grant to improve accessibility at its range.
The Sporting Shooters Association Australia Coffs Harbour will spend more than $31,000 to upgrade shelters and improve storage at their Dairyville range.
President Rod Madeley said the State Government grant would enable the club to build a much-needed shelter across their wheelchair accessible pathways and firing line area.
The works were a continuation on previous accessibility improvement works which started when they took over in 2010.
The club's membership has ballooned in recent years as it invested its own money, alongside government grants, to improve the site and encourage more people to take up the sport.
"We have done quite a lot in the last 10 years," Mr Madeley said.
"We had 268 members then and we have 750 now, it is growing."
And in the last six weeks since coronavirus restrictions had eased, the club had conducted between 50 to 60 license tests.
Mr Madeley put the increase down to making the space more inviting and increasing the number of days in which people could come to shoot.
"Once we opened up on a Wednesday and Sunday, the floodgates opened," he said.
"It's just a pleasant place to come to … when you have good facilities, you'll get people back.
At the club to formally announce the grant, Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh said the range was a major regional sports hub operated by dedicated members who provided an active recreational facility with an inclusive atmosphere.
He was proud to support one of the many ranges on the Coffs Coast.
"It's a surprisingly popular sport."
"People think that it is a sport only on the fringes, but so many in our society practice on the ranges."
"We are in a rural area and people do love their guns and they love shooting and what better way to do it than in a safe managed environment like here on the range."
Mr Singh was only too happy to fill out the necessary forms and have a crack at hitting a bullseye, proving he is no slouch when it came to sport shooting.
Visibly happy with his efforts, the MP would not be drawn on whether he enjoyed it enough to become a regular at the range.
"I know it can be an addictive hobby once you get into it so I am certainly happy to have a shoot from time to time," he said.
"It is a very difficult sport, much more difficult than people think.
"The accuracy people can get from 50m out to 200m - and the range behind us goes out to 600m - that is very accurate."
For more information visit ssaacoffsharbour.org.au