Sports clubs face shift under Crown land plan

Warrnambool Harness Racing Club and Warrnambool Small Bore Rifle Shooters Club have been earmarked for relocation.

Warrnambool Harness Racing Club and Warrnambool Small Bore Rifle Shooters Club have been earmarked for relocation.

TWO sports clubs would be relocated and Warrnambool Golf Club’s plans for a 27-hole international course thwarted under a proposed Crown land protection plan to be put before city councillors tonight.

The only immediate winners would be mountain bike enthusiasts, who would gain a minimum five-year lease to consolidate a trail network.

Crown land immediately north and west of Thunder Point is covered in the South Warrnambool precinct future directions plan which has been under discussion for several years.

It could also mean management responsibilities for the sand dunes precinct could be transferred to Parks Victoria.

Warrnambool Small Bore Rifle Shooters Club and Warrnambool Harness Racing Club have been earmarked for relocation, while the golf club’s hopes to expand on to part of the dune system have been dashed.

The rifle club would be encouraged to set up at the Lake Gillear shooting complex and harness racers to set up base at Terang or another suitable location.

The harness racing track, built about 30 years ago on a disused rubbish tip site, would then be made available to the golf club and mountain bike club while the harness racing clubrooms would become a community meeting facility.

The shooting range, which is a buffer to the Wannon Water treatment plant, would be made available to the golf club.

“Relocation is not a viable option,” harness racing club president Ron Dowdell said.

“We wanted to stay where we were.

“Going to Terang would not be suitable because there are no on-course stables.”

Golf club president Yani Marris said the main goal of members was to get agreement on land for future expansion. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” he said. “Whether we put in 27 holes or an improved 18 holes depends on land availability.”

The club’s committee will discuss the issue tomorrow night after attending the council meeting.

According to Department of Environment and Primary Industry summary notes, the golf club could get a licence to extend into Wannon Water buffer land and the northern half of the harness racing complex.

“It is noted that this is unlikely to allow for a 27-hole course as sought by the club, but should provide opportunity for a re-design of 18 holes to overcome issues associated with the existing course layout,” the department said.

However, one of the recommendations from council officers to tonight’s meeting offers some consolation — “that council continues to work with Warrnambool Golf Club in assisting them to achieve their aspirations to become a high-quality tourist destination”.

Other items on the council agenda include councillor code of conduct panel decisions, the May Races hospitality tent, a tradewaste treatment plant at the Swinton Street rendering plant, Kruger Street parking and the proposed business promotion levy. 

The meeting starts at 5.45pm.

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