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Hold your horses

THE community will have to wait longer than they anticipated to learn whether an equestrian and exhibition centre will be built at Stony Creek.

South Gippsland Shire Council recently voted to request a report on a second, more detailed business case for the centre by June 30, 2018.

Supporters told The Star recently they were hopeful a business case and detailed design would be completed by the end of this year.

Councillors received eight budget submissions in relation to the project, to which council has allocated $90,000 in the draft 2071-18 budget that is yet to be confirmed.

Cr Lorraine Brunt said council had already spent $35,000 on a business case which she said had so far shown the project “does not stack up”.

“We have not done the work to see if we need an expo and equestrian centre in South Gippsland and where the best location is for it,” she said.

Cr Jeremy Rich supported the centre so long as it “paid its own way”.

“I do not want to see this shelved to the back blocks,” he said.

Cr Meg Edwards unsuccessfully attempted to specify steps the project should take, starting with a memorandum of understanding between all parties, establishing a business case at a cost of $20,000 and then undertaking the design phase with a council contribution of $70,000.

If the project proceeded, she moved that council cap its contribution to constructing the centre at $500,000.

She was concerned not all parties involved agreed on the direction the centre should take.

However Cr Rich felt the $500,000 cap was “counterintuitive”.

“We do know what the cost is. It’s putting the cart before the horse,” he said.

Cr Andrew McEwen said a report by Essential Economics found the centre would payback its capital costs of $2.7 million within three years.

In her submission to council’s budget, Rebecca Parker called for council to support the centre, saying “I feel this is of utmost importance to the local area given there are no such similar facilities within two to five hours of South Gippsland, these being at Werribee Park, Tatura Park and Elmore…The addition of an undercover all weather arena would make the venue a highly sought after location for our local community and would be utilised by the pony clubs, adult riding clubs, campdrafters, western riders and the list goes on.

“In addition to this we would also be able to cater for farm expos, dairy and beef weeks, dog schools, markets, concerts, car shows and all such similar events that would generally need to be cancelled if our South Gippsland weather becomes unpredictable as can happen on a regular basis.

“The construction of this all weather facility would bring in more visitors to South Gippsland who would then be supporting local business and increasing the prosper of our community.”

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=21534

Posted by on Jun 6 2017. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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