Adelaide Plains Equestrian Club (APEC) is seeking to lease a portion of Clara Harniman Reserve in Lewiston as they search for a permanent home for their growing membership base.
The group have been working with Adelaide Plains Council for a number of years and at council’s December meeting, elected members voted to authorise council staff to undertake public consultation, which would see APEC lease 1.7 hectares of the southern portion of the reserve.
APEC was formed six years ago as a non-competitive riding club and although they have already been utilising the land for equestrian activities they are seeking to lease the land on a long-term basis, enabling the club to hold regular events without the requirement of obtaining annual permits.
As the reserve is community land, public consultation is required in order for any objections of the proposal to be taken into consideration.
APEC are hoping to develop the site for future community use, to benefit not only the equestrian club but also other community groups.
APEC president, Samantha Dragon, said the club’s goal has always been to develop the site for community use, not just for the equestrian club.
“We have been trying to get this off the ground for six years,” Mrs Dragon said.
APC’s general manager of development and community, Robert Veitch, spoke to the chamber at council’s December meeting.
“There is enough adequate land to buffer also other potential relocations to the northern portion of this site,” Mr Veitch said.
Development of the site would be through APEC’s own fundraising and potential grant funding, and would include clubrooms incorporating storage facilities and a riding arena.
“We envisage that any development proposed would be a consultative process with council, particularly given that our intention would be to leave a significant part of the Clara Harniman Reserve available for use by the broader community when not in use by APEC,” Ms Dragon stated in a letter to council.
The fencing off of native vegetation on the eastern boundary would be given first priority to ensure protection from individuals accessing the site with horses as well as motor bikes and vehicles.
Council also recognise the development of the reserve would benefit the community as a potential evacuation point, which is a suitable location for residents to bring their animals, and horse or dog floats, in the case of a district wide emergency.
The cost of developing the space would not require any cash contribution from council, however, ‘in kind’ support such as mowing, assistance to spread gravel for a shared use car park area, and assistance with grant application, “would be very much appreciated,” Mrs Dragon said.