The Casino Showground and Racecourse has been given a $8.2 million shot in the arm to turn the site into a modern equestrian precinct, attracting people from around the region, and potentially interstate.
Jointly announcing the funding today, Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan and State Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said the money would come from the co-funded Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund.
Mr Hogan said the project would give the well-loved community asset a much-needed overhaul.
“This will create a high-quality facility suitable for major equestrian competitions and other high profile events,” he said.
“Country shows and events are the beating heart of any community and while many have been cancelled this year, this funding will see our showground and race track transformed.”
Mr Gulaptis said funding for regional infrastructure would put locals directly in construction jobs and would help to remind local families, farmers and agricultural sector they had not been forgotten.
“A shining new and improved showground and racecourse will also help to put Casino on the map as the destination to host major competitions and community events, which we know leads to more visitors in town, spending with local businesses,” he said.
“Our regional communities have been doing it tough to say the least which is why we are backing projects that will put people back in work, retain existing jobs and stimulate local economies.”
Richmond Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow said the time was right for this type of redevelopment to ensure not only current activities survived and flourished, but for new ones to start up.
He said as trustee of the site, Council began planning for a major overhaul of the showgrounds two years ago, and welcomed today’s funding announcement.
“The showgrounds have an important historical and social significance and are home of the Casino Show, the Beef Week and Gold Cup races, gymkhanas and camp drafts but you can do so much more with it,” Cr Mustow said.
“Exciting additions proposed for the site include an indoor equestrian arena, redevelopment of the horse racing training stables, and renewal of the sand track and racecourse proper.”