Fears Tin Can Bay pony group faces the axe
A "LACK of communication” from Gympie Regional Council could force a children's horse riding group from Tin Can Bay, the group's owner said.
Buckaroo Horsemanship manager and owner Michael Harries said the Think Like a Pony Youth Program, which had been involved in events including Tin Can Bay's Anzac celebrations, might now be forced to leave their home of eight years.
While the council had offered another 1.2 ha block near the gun club for them to move to, Mr Harries said it was an impractical option.
"It's completely overgrown...with no power and no water,” he said.
"As a not-for-profit we can't do it.
"There has never been an offer of 'like for like' (land).
"This is the only active children's group in the whole vicinity, and we will close.”
While he knew the group would have to move eventually, he was frustrated by a lack of communication and forewarning from the council on the matter.
"My understanding from council is that there are no other groups looking to use it, but want it to go back to being park lands,” he said.
He said the changes would cause stabling problems, which would mean they would have to lead the children and their horses across the busy Tin Can Bay Rd.
"We're no longer able to operate what we had. This will be the first stage of shutting the program down,” he said.
However, Councillor Mark McDonald said future development of the site as a sporting facility was part of the council's Open Space Sport and Recreation Plan, which users and community groups had been informed of.
"Gympie Regional Council holds no agreement with Buckaroo Horsemanship, which council understands is a commercial entity,” Cr McDonald said.
"There is also no agreement with any group for the lease of the sports area (marked in yellow) and this area is being used illegally by horse groups, including Think like a Pony, which has resulted in significant increase in the number of horses, heavy impact on the surface and the site not being maintained.
"In 2015, Gympie Regional Council has requested these groups and users cease using the sports area illegally. They have not done so.”
Cr McDonald said there is also no agreement right now between Think Like a Pony and the council.
A lease agreement does for the land (marked blue) is held by the Baptist Union, who allow Think Like a Pony to use the site.
"The Baptist Union have requested the lease be transferred to Think Like a Pony. Council awaits confirmation for this to occur,” Cr McDonald said.
"Council are not asking that any group vacate the leased area, however Think like a Pony notified GRC that the leased space no longer meets their future needs.
"Council have offered another alternative site for the group which will fit their future needs and have been in discussion for many months.
"Council have offered assistance to support opportunities bodies such as Jupiters and Sport and Recreation.”