Funds bring dream to reality
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.