Ag society keen on river precinct plan

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Hor­sham Agri­cul­tural Society has backed a pro­posal to de­velop a com­mu­nity and tourism precinct on the Wim­mera River in Hor­sham.

The society is keen to be in­volved in project plan­ning, which the Vic­to­rian Lib­eral-na­tion­als Coali­tion has promised to fi­nance if it wins govern­ment in Novem­ber.

The society owns May­dale Re­serve, about 5.2-hectares of river­front land on the east side of Hor­sham Show­ground, and has been con­sid­er­ing projects to en­hance the area’s de­vel­op­ment po­ten­tial.

Sec­re­tary An­drea Cross said the his­toric society was un­der­go­ing re­gen­er­a­tion and the idea of be­ing in­volved in a river-de­vel­op­ment con­cept was both in­trigu­ing and ex­cit­ing.

If a precinct plan in­volved Crown Land de­vel­op­ment in the show­ground, such as the con­struc­tion of a re­cep­tion cen­tre on the east side of Wim­mera Bridge, May­dale Re­serve would be an im­me­di­ate eastern neigh­bour.

“We have been con­sid­er­ing po­ten­tial de­vel­op­ment projects all around us, such as a pro­posed multi-pur­pose sports sta­dium and what im­pact that might have on us in the fu­ture,” she said.

“We know that re­gard­less if that project goes ahead or not, that area of Crown Land will ul­ti­mately be de­vel­oped.

“So we need a plan where we can move for­ward.

“With this in mind and in a nut­shell – of course we’re in­ter­ested in be­ing in­volved.

“We are a ded­i­cated, com­mu­nity-based or­gan­i­sa­tion with a strong vi­sion for the fu­ture.

“We find the whole con­cept of de­vel­op­ing the river area in Hor­sham very ex­cit­ing and we’re keen to throw our hat into the ring in this con­ver­sa­tion.

“There are all sorts of ideas that have come up in gen­eral con­ver­sa­tion, some that are sim­ple and oth­ers that are right over the top.

“But these are all as­pects we are keen to ex­plore as part of the process.”

Mrs Cross said the society, busy pre­par­ing for a new-look Hor­sham Show at May­dale Re­serve on Septem­ber 29 and 30, had ‘long sol­diered along, an al­most a silent player’ in the com­mu­nity. But it was now gain­ing trac­tion with strong mem­ber­ship and projects be­yond the show­ground.

“We’ve been here for a long time and plan to con­tinue to be around for a long time. In push­ing into the fu­ture we will rely heav­ily on part­ner­ships and the com­mu­nity,” she said.

“At the mo­ment we are an in­ter­ested ob­server on what plan­ning for the river precinct might look like. But if and when it gets mov­ing, we want to be there with bells on.”

The Lib­eral-na­tion­als Coali­tion pledged ear­lier this month that it would pro­vide $150,000 for a Hor­sham precinct ‘ac­ti­va­tion plan’ if it won govern­ment.

Hor­sham Agri­cul­tural Society is al­ready ex­plor­ing fresh op­por­tu­ni­ties to make the most of its build­ings and land at May­dale Re­serve.

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