Funds bring dream to re­al­ity

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Si­mon Rup­pert

Be­nalla’s Raise the Roof com­mit­tee Chair Melissa Moun­sey lit­er­ally jumped for joy as she re­ceived a cheque for $250 000 to­wards the project.

The Raise the Roof com­mit­tee has been fundrais­ing for a num­ber of years to have a new in­door eques­trian arena built in Be­nalla.

Thanks to fund­ing from the state gov­ern­ment that dream is now close to be­com­ing re­al­ity.

State Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Ja­clyn Symes joined La­bor’s Can­di­date for Euroa Fionna Dep­peler-Mor­ton at the Be­nalla Eques­trian Cen­tre to make the an­nounce­ment last Thurs­day.

Be­nalla Ru­ral City Coun­cil Act­ing Mayor Peter Davis, Cr Bernie Hearn and Cr Danny Clar­idge were also present as Ms Moun­sey, flanked by a crowd of en­thu­si­as­tic club mem­bers, ac­cepted a large nov­elty cheque.

‘‘It’s been an amaz­ing jour­ney and we’ve worked with some amaz­ing peo­ple; the amount of vol­un­teer hours do­nated and the pas­sion peo­ple have shown has been fan­tas­tic,’’ Ms Moun­sey said.

‘‘This is so ex­cit­ing for the eques­trian com­mu­nity and our lit­tle town of Be­nalla, so we’re re­ally thrilled.’’

Ms Symes has been work­ing closely with the com­mit­tee and coun­cil, on de­liv­er­ing fund­ing to con­struct a cov­ered rid­ing arena.

It will pro­vide an all-weather fa­cil­ity with flood­light­ing, cre­at­ing a key re­gional eques­trian fa­cil­ity able to host more events, in­clud­ing those at the high­est level of the sport.

The $392 000 project is be­ing jointly funded by fundrais­ing ef­forts, coun­cil and the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment’s Com­mu­nity Sport In­fra­struc­ture Fund.

Ms Symes said the three ma­jor stake­holder groups — Be­nalla Pony Club, Be­nalla Adult Riders and Big Val­ley Quar­ter Horse As­so­ci­a­tion — along with the Raise the Roof Com­mit­tee, had done an amaz­ing job fundrais­ing for the project.

‘‘This is a mag­nif­i­cent win for Be­nalla’s eques­trian clubs and the wider North­ern Vic­to­ria horse rid­ing com­mu­nity,’’ Ms Symes said.

‘‘This all-weather fa­cil­ity will now be able to de­liver train­ing and com­pe­ti­tions all year round no mat­ter the weather.

‘‘I’m very pleased to have again de­liv­ered this sig­nif­i­cant sport­ing in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment for my home town of Be­nalla.

‘‘While Na­tional Party MPs from the State and Fed­eral level have been here for photo op­por­tu­ni­ties, mak­ing prom­ises they knew they wouldn’t have to keep — La­bor is here with a cheque for $250 000, get­ting it done so the clubs can get on with rais­ing the roof.’’

Ms Dep­peler-Mor­ton who, with her part­ner, runs a per­for­mance horse busi­ness, said she knew first-hand the ben­e­fits this in­vest­ment would bring to the re­gion.

She said an all-weather arena not only ben­e­fited lo­cal riders, but would be a draw­card for events and com­pe­ti­tions, which will help im­por­tant vis­i­tor dol­lars flow into the Be­nalla econ­omy.

‘‘As a horse rider my­self I am so pleased La­bor has lis­tened and de­liv­ered for Be­nalla horse en­thu­si­asts who are go­ing to love their new fa­cil­ity,’’ Ms Dep­pel­erMor­ton said.

‘‘The An­drews La­bor Gov­ern­ment is giv­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties like Be­nalla the fa­cil­i­ties they need so more lo­cals can par­tic­i­pate in the sports and re­cre­ation they love.

‘‘La­bor’s Com­mu­nity Sports In­fra­struc­ture Fund is part of our com­mit­ment to pro­mot­ing sports and ac­tive re­cre­ation and en­cour­ag­ing all Vic­to­ri­ans to get out there and get ac­tive.

‘‘Across Vic­to­ria we’ve al­ready in­vested $420 mil­lion in com­mu­nity sport and re­cre­ation fa­cil­i­ties and added more than half a bil­lion dol­lars in the Vic­to­rian Bud­get 2018/19 to sup­port sport across all lev­els.’’

Thrilled: State Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Ja­clyn Symes and La­bor Can­di­date for Euroa Fionna Dep­peler-Mor­ton present Raise the Roof com­mit­tee Chair Melissa Moun­sey a cheque for $250 000.

Visit: State Mem­ber for Euroa Steph Ryan at the Eques­trian Cen­tre ear­lier in the year with Fed­eral Sen­a­tor Brid­get McKen­zie.

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