Horsley shooting range bang on target

Illawarra Clay Target Club members are a step closer to firing the first shot at their new Horsley home after Wollongong City Council this week backed a controversial zoning change at the site.

Councillors voted 8-2 (Jill Merrin, Michelle Blicavs and Ann Martin were absent from the meeting) on Monday to include the clay target range in allowable uses of the Bong Bong Road site.

The decision went against a council staff recommendation to reject the proposal over fears lead pellets used in the sport would contaminate the site's water, soil and fauna.

MORE: Blow to Illawarra shooting range bid

But the majority of councillors said they were satisfied plans to use four-metre-high "shot curtains" to pool the pellets into one collection point would minimise the risk of any spraying on to sensitive escarpment land.

Club president Fred Rapley yesterday said the board was "delighted" with the outcome.

"We're very happy and very relieved with what's been decided," he said, adding the club and its members were responsible corporate citizens.

"We're very strict - there's no yobbos here."

In backing the proposal, councillors also agreed they did not want the club forced to relocate outside the Illawarra if the zoning change was rejected.

"They are only wanting to use four hectares of a 26 hectare site," Janice Kershaw said in support of the club's plans.

Chris Connor said the proposal was supported in the community.

But George Takacs raised questions over the loss of biodiversity on core escarpment land and the negative impact on wildlife from noise.

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