Events saved

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Three events which will bring many visitors to the Deniliquin district have been saved from cancellation.

Ongoing issues regarding general security water allocation access threatened this year’s Deniliquin Rodeo and Deniliquin Anzac Day Races around Easter, and a Deniliquin Motorcycle Association event due to be held a week later.

Deniliquin Racecourse Trust president Peter Joss said with no water availability, neither of the event’s grounds would be safe for competition let alone attractive to spectators.

Mr Joss said with help from Edward River Council and Murray Irrigation Limited, two options to prevent their cancellation have now been put in place.

The Deniliquin Racecourse Trust has been working with council over several months to secure a transfer of council’s excess town water supply to the three grounds.

With approval from the NSW Government still pending, the Trust approached Murray Irrigation seeking to borrow 30 megalitres.

At an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, Edward River Council agreed to underwrite that water loan.

‘‘Without a water supply the Easter events are all in jeopardy of not occurring,’’ general manager Adam McSwain explained to councillors.

‘‘They (the Deniliquin Racecourse Trust) have been in discussions with Murray Irrigation for a transfer, which has to be repaid by June 30.

‘‘They do not have the funds to underwrite the loan.

‘‘As days go by the cost of water is increasing, and so I would suggest we provide a maximum of $25,000.’’

Mr McSwain said council would continue to work on a water access licence transfer application for the racecourse, similar to the one approved for Deniliquin Golf Club.

He said the need for the loan, and therefore any financial support from council, would be void if the application was approved with enough time to enact the plan.

Mr Joss said having the ‘back up plan’ in the form of the water borrow is a relief for each of the individual community groups.

‘‘Council has saved these events, which are important in attracting tourists to our community,’’ Mr Joss said.

‘‘Council has previously transferred water to the racecourse, but this year has been a bit different because the government won’t allow it. The excuse is that Menindee Lakes are too low.

‘‘We (the Trust) have made representations to our local member and the appropriate minister directly, and the response we got was ‘no’ due to Menindee Lakes.

‘‘Everything is pretty dry out there (at the racecourse and other trust reserves) and despite councillors and staff pursuing water, and our own attempts, it was to no avail.

‘‘Murray Irrigation can provide the water, but none of the clubs could afford the payout by June. Council has stepped up and said it does not want to put these events in jeopardy.’’

The Racecourse Trust’s request was one of four put to council late last year.

An approval to transfer council water to the Deniliquin Golf Club has been approved, but requests to assist the Riverview and Cooinda residential estate are still pending.

Representatives from each estate attended Thursday’s council meeting to plead their case again, but a solution has still not been found.