Fifty years, shot?

Matt Molloy
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Recreation Rod and Gun Club has closure in its sights if no one steps up to run it

After more than 50 years in Gander, the Rod and Gun Club is on the brink of closing.

After a "very poor turnout" at its annual general meeting on April 26, cub secretary Wayne Lorenzen, the only active executive member serving the club, said if nobody steps forward at the May 10 meeting, the club may shut down.

Asked what the odds were the club would close, Lorenzen said, "If we get the same turnout as last time, 10 out of 10.

Gander -

After more than 50 years in Gander, the Rod and Gun Club is on the brink of closing.

After a "very poor turnout" at its annual general meeting on April 26, cub secretary Wayne Lorenzen, the only active executive member serving the club, said if nobody steps forward at the May 10 meeting, the club may shut down.

Asked what the odds were the club would close, Lorenzen said, "If we get the same turnout as last time, 10 out of 10.

"The club has been in Gander for over 50 years and has a long history of shooting and sporting," he added.

Lorenzen became a member of the executive when he signed his membership card, back at the club's AGM in 2009, which he attended at the urging of his friend and past- president, Dylan Driscoll.

Lorenzen isn't an avid shooter, but he wants to see the club stay open because of what it means to the town.

"I just have a vested interest in maintaining things that are viable to the community, and I think this is a valuable resource," he said.

"Paul Langdon was at the AGM, and both of his children are involved with biathlon, and they have a plan to start a biathlon training camp. He was shocked to hear that there's a possibility the club could fold."

Lorenzen said the club is financially stable, but nobody has stepped forward to run it. As it stands, Driscoll and treasurer Janet Brake decided to take a break from their executive roles, so other members need to come forward if they want to see the club remain active.

"The entire enrolment of the club is roughly 75 people. ... That's paid, registered members," Lorenzen said.

"If you ran the executive correctly, if you had a balanced approach, the president isn't the person who has to do all of the work. Dylan and Janet aren't bitter, they just need a break. There's no bad politics in the club, and there's no arguing between individuals. ...

"I just want to get the word out to our members that this is the situation, and this is what the risk is."

The club has allocated money for upgrades, from expanding the range to improving the berm. However, if nobody steps up to accept the executive duties, the more than $200,000 will be of no use.

"We have some issues with the Firearms Control Office to get the range up to modern specifications ...," Lorenzen said.

"Right now, we have a 100-yard range, and moose hunters and those who hold hunter safety courses would like to see it at 200 yards, and we're going to do work on the berm (the wall that stops the bullets). We're going to upgrade the trap-shooting area, and the shooting platform hasn't been upgraded in years ... so we've allocated about $200,000 for improvements. We're doing everything to put ourselves up to complete compliance.

"The irony is, if we don't have an executive to actually run the club, the funds will just sit there, and the club will have to dissolve because there's no executive to run it."

The club's May 10 meeting will be at the Gander Community Centre at 7 p.m.

Lorenzen said it will be a shame if the club folds.

"Look at the ramifications it would have on the biathlon group," he said.

"We host trap competitions. One in particular that's very popular provincially is the one associated with Festival of Flight, where trap shooters come out from the west coast, St. John's and even the mainland to come here to shoot. That won't happen, and that's revenue gone for the town."

Organizations: Rod and Gun Club, Firearms Control Office, Gander Community Centre

Geographic location: Gander, St. John's

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