A shooting range used by the voluntary Defence League (Kaitseliit) as well as by the public and as a venue for international competitions, is to be upgraded to NATO standards, in a project set to cost around €200,000 and covering mostly safety aspects.
The range, open to the public as the Männiku Clay [pigeon] Shooting Club, in the outer Tallinn suburb of the same name, was opened in 1978, being handed over to the Defence League in the late 1990s, but has been transformed dramatically since then. The latest round of work concerns a safety barrier, which will make it NATO-compliant, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.
"The range has been in constant development down the years, and is unrecognizable compared with its original state when it was opened to the Defence League in 1999," Aavo Pekri, head of the shooting range, told ERR on Monday.
Even so, only about a third of all improvements planned have been implemented thus far.
"With the improvements we've made so far, we've already hosted quite a lot of significant and international shooting competitions here," Pekri added.
"The requirements of international sports shooting are constantly changing, and we have moved in line with them," Pekri continued.
"Safety requirements have also developed significantly," he added, noting that the aim here was already to be ahead of the game rather than incremental improvements.
"In this respect, we have taken a step forward and tried to take into account our neighbors. Neighbors always both support and get disturbed [by the range]. Much of the investment being made is geared towards safety, noise abatement and environmental protection," he continued.
The current figure of €200,000 is not set in stone; the previous round of construction work cost €1.7 million. At the same time, the range is in high demand, according to Pekri.
"The current barrier construction costs a little over €200,000, but needs for the future are also an ever-present. That said, state contribution, sponsors and visiting clubs, shooters and competions, which can't always be easily evaluated in monetary terms, is vital too," he added.
The average number of visitors per year was around 25,000 prior to renovation done last year, Pekri said, though this number only went down slightly even with some of the facilities being closed. Thus the number should exceed 30,000 for 2019, he added, making it harder for regular users to find windows for their own practice.
The Männiku range site is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte