SLEMON PARK – P.E.I.’s first and only indoor Reball and Airsoft facility is set to open at Slemon Park.
Dean Johnstone, owner of Crossfire Adventure Paintball in Cavendish, said he hopes to have the new facility open for business within two weeks.
Johnstone said the activity is so popular that he believes it can run year round with indoor fields providing the battlegrounds during the winter months.
“Indoor will be a continuation of our outdoor fields because it is seasonal and there’s a lot of people into paintball who can’t play between, or don’t want to play because of the cold, from Oct. 1 right through to May,” he said. “That’s five or six months with non-activity.”
Johnstone said he needed to find the right place to stage the activity. It had to be big enough and large enough.
He got a line on space at Slemon Park and a deal was struck.
They found a building that met the requirements and could be adapted to include two addition fields
Johnstone said for the present, he is only developing one filed measuring 120 feet long and just under 40 feet wide.
“We’re just staring to set it up now,” he said “We were originally looking at this coming weekend (Feb. 8-9) to open but we’re going to lay a little low and make sure we’re doing it properly before we get open. We’ll have people in this weekend to test the fields and test the layout.”
Unlike the Cavendish site the Slemon Park operation will not offer paintball. It will, however, have Re-Ball and Airsoft.
“Airsoft, basically, uses a bb,” Johnstone said. “It’s softer. The guns in Airsoft are totally realistic looking. Most people that are into Airsoft have their own equipment. For the Re-ball we do have equipment that we rent out.”
Johnstone said all encounters will have a referee to ensure everyone is following the safety rules and the rules of which ever game the participants are involved in.
“Reball is a soft rubber ball, the same size as a paint ball but it’s soft and bouncy,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun, just like paintball. It doesn’t mark you so you’re on the honour system.”
He said the reason behind not offering paintball is that the field is indoors and played on a concrete floor which would get slippery and pose a safety issue.
“Airsoft has really gained a lot of popularity because of the realism of the equipment and it’s relatively cheap to buy the bbs,” Johnstone said. “You can buy 4,000 for about $20 whereas the paintballs are quite a bit more expensive.”
He said Airsoft is a more realistic game to play than paintball.
“You’re objectives are more realistic,”Johnstone said. “Adults enjoy Airsoft because of the realism with the more military tactics that are used, whereas paintball is more of an elimination game.”
Johnstone said the reason the activity is so popular is from the adrenaline rush the players get.
Johnstone said the Slemon Park filed will be a pilot project throughout the spring to see if it catches on and if it does, next fall, he will increase the number of fields and extend the operation from October through to May when the Cavendish fields re-open for the summer months.