Yarra Glen could soon be home to a multi-purpose equestrian centre that could transform the Yarra Valley into an equestrian hub.
The Yarra Valley Equestrian Park (YVEP) body have presented plans to Yarra Ranges Council on Monday 8 April and are now hoping to secure funding from state and federal governments.
The Yarra Glen and Lilydale Hunt Club have recently conducted an intensive study and recommended a design for a multipurpose equestrian centre at their property.
The not for profit YVEP body was established with an agreement for a 30 year lease on the property subject to obtaining funding by October 2020.
Acting chair of YVEP Geoff Sinclair said that the Yarra Valley is the fourth largest region for equestrian participation in Australia with nearly 4000 riders.
“Some people have to travel hundreds of kilometres to go and compete… If we can create something in the Yarra Valley it means people can train, compete and learn locally.”
Mr Sinclair said that it would create more events for the sport as other equestrian centres in Tamworth, Elmore, Werribee and Boneo are booked out every week of the year.
“Our sport is very multi-disciplined. There’s an enormous amount of different disciplines within the sport that would utilise this facility.”
“It’s one of those few sports where people keep going for a long time. It’s a sport that lasts a lifetime for a lot of people,” he said.
Mr Sinclair believes the venue could have multiple purposes to serve the community such as hosting potential animal and cattle shows, four-wheel drive shows, events like Tough Mudder and would act as a retreat for people to bring horses and animals to safety during bushfire season.
But would all be dependent upon securing funding in time before the October 2020 deadline.
“If we don’t get the funding in that time then the agreement we have with the hunt club for exclusivity runs out and who knows what they will do then. We might lose it altogether,” Mr Sinclair said.
“We think this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Construction costs for stage one include incorporating an all-weather arena, grassed arena, updated eventing course, new horse accommodation and improved traffic management, estimated at $5.106 million dollars.
Stage two would include an indoor arena, improved horse, camping and visitor amenities and stage three would include an improved club and function space.
These stages are estimated to cost $5.288 million and $2.816 million respectively.
YVEP is yet to receive funding at a local, state or federal level.
Mr Sinclair implores those who have a strong interest in seeing the development of the Yarra Valley Equestrian Park to contact their local, state and federal members of government to show there is a strong demand for the project.
“We have invested over $100,000 to prove that it would work financially, that it would be self-sustaining and that it would be a state of the art centre.
“A lot of horsing people in the Yarra Valley would be very sad to see such a beautiful venue gone forever for our grandchildren and our great grandchildren,” Mr Sinclair said.
To learn more about the project, visit: www.yvep.com.au