Gun club in neighbours' sights

IT’S fair to say Shalvey resident John Kenny has noisy neighbours.

He’s campaigning for Blacktown Pistol Club to be relocated.

It’s currently within 40 metres of homes.

A resident there since 1978, Mr Kenny said the club wasn’t a problem until 2006.

That’s when Blacktown Council approved a development application for three outdoor ranges.

Surrounding residents have had to live with the regular bang of gunshots since.

The noise used to start as early as 8am on weekends until noise restrictions were enforced.

While the club’s website says it’s open four days a week, Mr Kenny says it’s actually six days.

‘‘The noise is so unbearable that it has destroyed my life and my wife’s’’ he said.

‘‘We can’t do any gardening or have a barbecue. We’ve got to close all our windows and turn up the television to block out the noise. The ambience of the area is stuffed. Children who live around here shouldn’t be growing up thinking gun noise is normal.’’

Mr Kenny has contacted police and all three levels of government, pleading for assistance.

‘‘I think the council has a duty of care to residents’ health and safety,’’ he said.

‘‘No one has the authority to close it down or seem to be responsible for gun ranges in NSW. Shooters aren’t a bad crowd but I don’t think they have a right to shoot in an area where there are residents.’’

While council is limited in what it can do, Mr Kenny has the support of ward five Blacktown councillor Jacqueline Donaldson, who has attended on site meetings.

She’s heard complaints about bullets whizzing by people visiting Kiesha Weippeart’s memorial nearby, and casings found outside the bounds of where they are supposed to be shooting.

Councillor Donaldson has been told by police there is an ongoing investigation.

‘‘I found the noise is excessive and I think the building should be enclosed like other gun ranges as it is having a detrimental effect on the neighbours’ emotional wellbeing,’’ she said.

Attempts to contact Blacktown Pistol Club were unsuccessful.

 A Blacktown  Council spokeswoman said Blacktown Pistol Club has been operating for decades.

‘‘The Pistol Club is located on Commonwealth land and at the time it was initially established, there was no need for development consent.  Over the years, the club has had a number of approvals for additional facilities. In response to ongoing complaints from a resident, noise monitoring was undertaken by Council in December 2012. The monitoring indicated that the Pistol Club was operating within the criteria outlined in the Environmental Noise Control Manual with the noise measured well below the acceptable limits. There is nothing to suggest that the club is operating in breach of any approvals. However, Council will require the Pistol Club to take further noise readings to confirm the emissions from the facility remain the same.

 The Pistol Club is operating legally, and council has no power to force the closure or relocation of the premises. The Pistol Club is also regulated by the NSW Police Force under the provisions of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW) and the Firearms Regulation 2006 (NSW).’’

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