Ag society keen on river precinct plan
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.