TRACK WORK: One of the important showground uses that keeps the regional facility afloat – but for how long?
TRACK WORK: One of the important showground uses that keeps the regional facility afloat – but for how long? Craig Warhurst

Council pushes to develop its showground master plan

HORSE trainers have every reason to feel wanted as Gympie Regional Council develops its master plan for the Gympie Showgrounds, otherwise known as Adrian McClintock Park.

The multi-use facility needs some changes to maintain its financial viability and councillors were concerned at their Wednesday meeting to ensure that horse training remained one of the uses that is keeping the showgrounds alive.

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But a tendency for some trainers to see Corbould Park as an attractive alternative meant the master plan had to include some assessment of the point below which horse training would cease to be a viable use.

"We have no intention of ceasing horse racing or training," staff members reported to the council.

But some sorting out would be needed to maximise the area's multiple uses and ensure they did not interfere with each other.

At the moment, the Show Society's office was inside the track, meaning it could not be accessed before training ceased at 9.30am.

SHOW TIME: Kasey Coomben and Chaise Mallett do their bit to keep the good times rolling.
SHOW TIME: Kasey Coomben and Chaise Mallett do their bit to keep the good times rolling.

Also, the council zoning for the area prevented it being used as a potentially very useful RV park.

At the moment, the facility's income consisted largely of council subsidy, track and stable hire and administration contributions from the Turf Club and Show Society.

The Master Plan provides for a number of subsidiary studies and aims to provide a 10 to 15-year plan.

A review of the horse racing component includes a study "to measure the economic benefit of horse training activities and determine the point at which the number of horses being trained at the venue ceases to provide economic and social benefits commensurate to the costs and restrictions placed on the site."

It also calls for The Pavilion manager to be the central contact point for all site bookings, for a trial period of 12 months.

Down to earth improvements include increased water pressure to the cage bird and dairy pavilions, upgraded toilets and improved disabled access, a drainage plan to reduce erosion of sand from the track, relocation of the Show Society office to the outside of the track and an investigation of retro-fitting the bar area into the main grandstand, upgraded lighting in the main arena and a track watering system.

It also provides for internal road upgrades, construction of a district level park on the site and a business case for an indoor equestrian centre.