• Tony Bosworth

New $1.65m Hawkesbury Showground pavilion could double as evacuation centre in fire emergencies

Control of feral goats and new river wall at Wisemans Ferry also part of $1.7m government funding package

Robyn Preston MP , Ross Matheson, President of the Hawkesbury District Agricultural Association, HDAA Treasurer Ken Ridge, HDAA Admin and Business Manager Andrea Roth

The cash splash is being provided by the NSW Government under its Crown Reserves Improvement Fund (CRIF) and was announced by State MP Robyn Preston who said, “this funding will see the building of significant infrastructure, improvements to river banks and maintenance of Crown Reserves through pest control.”

The Showground funding was announced previously, when Ms Preston posted a video to Facebook almost two weeks ago.

Interestingly, it’s likely the new pavilion will be pressed into service if Hawkesbury residents suffer another bushfire season with forced evacuations.

“It will serve as a great asset to the Hawkesbury community for use as an evacuation centre during future bushfire seasons,” said Ross Matheson, President of the Hawkesbury District Agricultural Association.

“This type of facility is lacking in the area which was highlighted during the 2019 bushfires,” said Mr Matheson.

Ms Preston said, “the construction of the new pavilion at Hawkesbury Showground will provide a modern facility for a range of events including exhibitions, markets, trade shows, field days, meetings and presentations, livestock shows and much more.”

$1,655,082 will go towards construction of the multipurpose trade, industrial, livestock and machinery pavilion at the Hawkesbury Showground.

The funding for the new pavilion is in addition to the $323,827.90 already announced by the NSW Government through the Showgrounds Stimulus Funding Program, so in total just under $2m is being handed over for the Showground’s rejuvenation.

“This pavilion will be utilised not only during show time to accommodate our alpacas, sheep, goats and donkey exhibits but will also have the capacity to host trade shows and exhibitions,” said Mr Matheson.

“This is an amazing project for the showground. After being here for 35 years with lots of hard work put in by the volunteers of the Hawkesbury District Agricultural Association, it’s wonderful to receive such a significant funding boost.”

In separate funding boosts also covered by the CRIF, $50,000 is going towards the cost of constructing a seawall to stabilise part of the Hawkesbury River bank that is eroding at NSW Ski Gardens at River Rd, Wisemans Ferry.

The Wisemans area will also see an injection of $29,803 aimed at controlling feral goats which can cause soil erosion, spread disease and pose a risk for vehicle collisions.

The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Patrick Conolly welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement.

“The new pavilion at Hawkesbury Showground will be a great boost for the local economy,” Mr Conolly said.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the NSW Government’s Crown Reserves Improvement Fund received a $40m boost this year in response to COVID-19 and bushfires, on top of $17m already budgeted.

“Crown land is for the people of NSW to use and enjoy, and to support organisations at the heart of our communities,” Minister Stokes said.

“This record $51.7 million investment will support 705 maintenance and upgrade projects on Crown reserves right across NSW.”

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