HORSES are likely to be banned from Killarney beach, but trainers are hoping to be offered another beach closer to Port Fairy for commercial horse training.
South West Owners, Trainers & Riders Association (SWOTRA) treasurer and beach liaison Tammy Good said Moyne Shire has had preliminary discussions with the association about providing access and a car park at a section of East Beach just west of the Port Fairy Golf Club.
Ms Good said SWOTRA would be amenable to the idea.
“It’s still to be determined but in principle that means we could still do our work,” she said.
“It was mooted some time ago that Killarney beach might be excluded from working horses (and that still) looks to be the case, purely because of the dangers because it’s right next to the caravan park.
“It’s still at a discussion level, but Moyne Shire have offered an alternative at East Beach back towards (the golf course). The details have got to be worked out.”
Moyne Shire mayor Colin Ryan said it was “one of a number of options being discussed”, but stressed “nothing has been finalised”.
SWOTRA met with representatives from Moyne Shire, Warrnambool City Council, the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, and Parks Victoria on Tuesday to discuss the matter.
Ms Good said Parks Victoria had also given SWOTRA information about known hooded plover nests and endangered birds in the area.
Meanwhile the Belfast Coastal Reserve Action Group (BCRAG) has suggested a purpose-built sand training track be constructed in Warrnambool.
BCRAG’s Bill Yates reiterated the group’s belief that horse training on Killarney beach was “unsustainable and unsafe, … damaging sand dunes, disturbing the critically endangered hooded plovers and discouraging recreational users from visiting”.
“It is time that the horseracing industry in Warrnambool established its own purpose-built sand training track that could be used by trainers from around the region and generate income for the city,” Mr Yates said.
Ms Good said a purpose-built track “would be fine as long as the right sort of sand and the right venue could be found for it”.
“It’s on our wishlist,” she said.