Tin Can pony group faces axe

Re­zon­ing well ad­ver­tised, coun­cil­lor says

The Gympie Times - - NEWS - SCOTT KOVACEVIC Re­porter scott.kovacevic@gympi­etimes.com

❝ This area is be­ing used il­le­gally by horse groups.

— Cr Mark McDon­ald

A “LACK of com­mu­ni­ca­tion” from Gympie Re­gional Coun­cil could force a chil­dren’s horse rid­ing group from Tin Can Bay, the group’s owner said.

Bucka­roo Horse­man­ship man­ager and owner Michael Har­ries said the Think Like a Pony Youth Pro­gram, which had been in­volved in events in­clud­ing Tin Can Bay’s An­zac cel­e­bra­tions, might now be forced to leave their home of eight years.

While the coun­cil had of­fered an­other 1.2 ha block near the gun club for them to move to, Mr Har­ries said it was an im­prac­ti­cal op­tion.

“It’s com­pletely over­grown ... with no power and no wa­ter,” he said.

“As a not-for-profit we can’t do it.

“There has never been an of­fer of ‘like for like’ (land).

“This is the only ac­tive chil­dren’s group in the whole vicin­ity, and we will close.”

While he knew the group would have to move even­tu­ally, he was frus­trated by a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and fore­warn­ing from the coun­cil on the mat­ter.

“My un­der­stand­ing from coun­cil is that there are no other groups look­ing to use it, but want it to go back to be­ing park lands,” he said.

He said the changes would cause sta­bling prob­lems, which would mean they would have to lead the chil­dren and their horses across the busy Tin Can Bay Rd.

“We’re no longer able to op­er­ate what we had. This will be the first stage of shut­ting the pro­gram down,” he said.

How­ever, Coun­cil­lor Mark McDon­ald said fu­ture devel­op­ment of the site as a sport­ing fa­cil­ity was part of the coun­cil’s Open Space Sport and Recre­ation Plan, which users and com­mu­nity groups had been in­formed of.

“Gympie Re­gional Coun­cil holds no agree­ment with Bucka­roo Horse­man­ship, which coun­cil un­der­stands is a com­mer­cial en­tity,” Cr McDon­ald said.

“There is also no agree­ment with any group for the lease of the sports area (marked in yel­low) and this area is be­ing used il­le­gally by horse groups, in­clud­ing Think like a Pony, which has re­sulted in sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the num­ber of horses, heavy im­pact on the sur­face and the site not be­ing main­tained.

“In 2015, Gympie Re­gional Coun­cil has re­quested these groups and users cease us­ing the sports area il­le­gally. They have not done so.”

Cr McDon­ald said there is also no agree­ment right now be­tween Think Like a Pony and the coun­cil.

A lease agree­ment does for the land (marked blue) is held by the Bap­tist Union, who al­low Think Like a Pony to use the site.

“The Bap­tist Union have re­quested the lease be trans­ferred to Think Like a Pony. Coun­cil awaits con­fir­ma­tion for this to oc­cur,” Cr McDon­ald said.

“Coun­cil are not ask­ing that any group va­cate the leased area, how­ever Think like a Pony no­ti­fied GRC that the leased space no longer meets their fu­ture needs.

“Coun­cil have of­fered an­other al­ter­na­tive site for the group which will fit their fu­ture needs and have been in dis­cus­sion for many months.

“Coun­cil have of­fered as­sis­tance to sup­port op­por­tu­ni­ties bod­ies such as Jupiters and Sport and Recre­ation.”

PHOTO: BUCKA­ROO HORSE­MAN­SHIP.

MOV­ING ON? Youth horse group Think Like a Pony could be forced to stop ac­tiv­i­ties in Tin Can Bay due to re­zon­ing, and (in­set) the area in ques­tion.

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