BOLD LAND PLAN: Clare Showgrounds 15-year ambitious plan

Aerial tree recreation, short-stay accommodation, new equestrian facilities, basketball stadium and a multi-use indoor centre function with provisions for up to 300 people. These are just some of the visions included in a bold new, 15-year masterplan for the Clare Showgrounds.

Clare Agricultural and Horticultural Society (A&HS) and consultant Stuart Heseltine of Hemisphere Design presented the masterplan to local and state government stakeholders in town last week to garner support in moving forward with plan.

Clare A&HS said the plan was met enthusiastically during the meeting and it would now move to seek funding to prepare a business plan.

A figure on the works is yet to be determined.

Show president Ingrid Smith said the master plan aimed to tap into the uniqueness and potential of the privately-owned 22-hectare showground and was a vision “for the next 100 years, to enable people to come and enjoy the grounds”.

“It is about sustainability and creating some amazing opportunities,” she said.

“It really is a legacy project for the whole community moving forward and we’re now looking through opportunities to deliver these initiatives as part of a considered business case.

“It’s 2021, we have to look to somehow modernise the showgrounds and we have a great opportunity to utilise the grounds, while also maintaining our existing events.

“We have such a great location here, we have the Riesling and Rattler Trails on our doorstep, we have an upgraded highway leading to our gate.

“We’re not just an ag show any more, we have the Autumn Garden Festival, we have ParkRun, we’re about to host polo in October, we have a lot to offer and this masterplan is really about bringing more to the community.”

While it is early days, Mr Heseltine – who previously worked on the Royal Adelaide Showground expansion plan – said the Clare Showground master plan divided the showgrounds into three zones.

In the northern zone, seen to have “high end environmental” appeal, included in the plan was the potential for short stay accommodation, open space and aerial tree recreation (similar to the Tree Climb concept in Adelaide).

The central hub includes a large multi-use indoor centre – potential for indoor basketball facilities, conference and accommodation facility.

On the southern end of the grounds, included are plans for a relocated arena/oval and equestrian facility.

Mr Heseltine said there were “still a myriad of challenges” as the group started to flesh out delivery of the master plan, but with assistance from a broader consulting team to begin looking at funding and investment opportunities, he was confident the plan was achievable.

“I am confident we can develop the right business case and see no reason that the master plan can’t be achieved,” he said.

“The showgrounds are ideally placed on many levels.”

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