A SOUTH Gippsland Equestrian Centre would be a valuable asset to the district, and the Stony Creek Racecourse is already part of the way along becoming such a centre.
That was the view put forward by Yvonne Morrison and Janine Bullock in a presentation to South Gippsland Shire Council last Wednesday.
The women urged Council to consider funding an economic analysis of the costs to develop and manage a regional equestrian facility at Stony Creek – or on a Greenfield site. They asked for $20,000.
They said they had the support of the Stony Creek Racing Club and a further 244 clubs have also pledged their support.
Plans for the minor refinements that would be necessary to develop Stony Creek Racecourse into an equestrian centre are already underway.
The women said there was nothing else in the way of equestrian facilities in the district – or even up to the NSW border. “We’ll fulfil a lot of needs for a lot of people,” said Ms Morrison, pointing out that an equestrian centre would enable locals to stay (and spend) in the district rather than having to travel to places like Werribee for major events, and would attract interest and generate income from a wide geographical area. Horses and horse events, she argued, create opportunities for tourism.
“I could see this happening at Stony Creek. If we miss this opportunity we will miss a huge economic opportunity.”
She said the infrastructure was already in place at Stony Creek and it would cost very little to add on to it.
Cr Andrew McEwen said he was an enthusiastic supporter of the proposal to make more of the Stony Creek Racecourse, describing it as “a prudent and sensible investment” and saying that an economic study was the necessary next step.
Mayor Kieran Kennedy suggested the lobbyists apply for a grant for seed funding. He recommended they speak to the shire’s grants officer, Penni Ellicott.