Two local equine organisations will join forces to grow their sport and activities on the one site in Goulburn.
Goulburn Campdraft Association and Riding for the Disabled (RDA) will lease a 64-hectare parcel at 632 Taralga Road from the council.
Councillors decided at their meeting on Tuesday to lease the portion of its irrigation farm for 15 years to the parties for $496 each per year.
It will enable RDA to move from its Rosemont Road home and the Campdraft Association to develop a state-of-the-art equine centre and expand competitions. Currently it operates on private land near the airport.
The latter group proposes to build a campdraft arena, holding yards, a canteen, office, toilets and showers and associated facilities. A development application will be lodged once the lease is finalised.
"We're ecstatic," vice-president Tony Pearce said after the meeting.
"We've been working to secure a piece of the irrigation farm for the past two years. We originally expressed interest in a parcel at Gorman Road but that was not an option....This will house both organisations and give us room to move."
In an address to councillors on Tuesday, president Campbell Boileau said the equine centre would have long-term benefits. The Association hopes to lease its arena to other equine groups and grow the sport locally.
The group has some 50 registered members and holds one three-day event annually. But Mr Pearce said the lease would allow more competition days and clinics for one of Australia's fastest growing sports.
The Goulburn club operates under the Southern Campdraft Association banner.
Mr Boileau said while his Association had assets, money in the bank and a handy pool of skills on its committee, the lease would pave the way for government grant applications.
"It is our aim to support ourselves," he said.
Mr Boileau told The Post that Goulburn Campdrafting always wanted to develop a community facility that would help others. It has raised money for RDA since it started.
"It's taken a lot to get this far and now we need to find the money to showcase our dream," he said.
The council stipulated that both organisations would be responsible for development costs. The equine centre is expected to cost about $800,000.
Meantime, RDA president Jo Grove said the lease was very welcome as her organisation had been working for three years to secure a permanent home. It currently operates from a Rosemont Road property.
"What RDA and Campdraft are doing is a really good thing and I'm relieved the council sees the potential," she said.
"We have been very fortunate to be located on Rosemont Road for 20 years on a free lease agreement but we needed to secure a long-term home."
Mr Boileau's father, Henry, founded RDA Goulburn and both groups worked well together.
Mrs Grove wants to increase riding days from once fortnightly to twice weekly. Thirty volunteers assist up to 70 children with disabilities from eight Goulburn and district schools. She is the only accredited coach but there are two assistant coaches.
"I want to expand and grow RDA," she said.
"There is so much opportunity there and we're putting things in place to achieve that.
"...I'm really excited about the future. It's all falling into place and I'm thankful to (Goulburn MP) Wendy Tuckerman and Cr Peter Walker for their support."
The organisation is seeking grants and community donations to build an undercover sand arena, hay sheds, tack sheds, meeting and eating rooms with marshaling area, an amenities block with disabled access and a car park.
Mrs Grove said she'd also love to complete a sensory garden for older people with disabilities to enjoy.
The total project is estimated to cost $800,000 to $1 million. People wishing to donate can do so by contacting Mrs Grove on 0409 816 166 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Other uses for farm
The council called for expressions of interest in the irrigation farm after declaring it surplus several years ago.
It is no longer needed given the wastewater treatment plant's upgrade and the ability to discharge effluent directly into the river.
Also on Tuesday, councillors decided to develop a residential subdivision on another farm parcel at 534 Taralga Road. Utilities director Marina Hollands said a contamination report revealed low-level PFAS chemicals at three sites including the Gorman Road effluent ponds. However concentrations in soils, surface and groundwater "did not present an unacceptable human health or ecological exposure risk."
Lots will carry covenants restricting home-grown produce and its consumption and preventing ground water use.
Other decisions were:
- To invite three parties that lodged expressions of interest in a private-public partnership for a section of the farm to update councillors on their proposals at an October 13 briefing session;
- To develop a concept for the establishment of an environmental reserve around the immediate ponds area on Gorman Road.
- To not proceed with a cemetery on the Gorman Road site. Instead, the general manager will investigate opportunities for a cemetery next to Saint Patrick's on Middle Arm Road.
- To investigate with ARTC how to achieve safe access over the railway line at Gorman Road.
Cr Andrew Banfield declared a pecuniary interest in discussions and left the room during debate. His brother-in-law, Andy Divall's company, Narambulla Investments Pty Ltd, had submitted an expression of interest for a public-private interest in part of the land.
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