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Riding School Debacle

Riding School Debacle

Rundell's Riding School Future in doubt

Warrnambool's Rundells Riding School which has been operating for over 22 years is now in fear of closing.

Due to restrictions in place in the Belfast Coastal Reserve, the State Government has told owner Sandra Wilson she has lost access to all riding tracks except one.

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says this is unreasonable, as only approved tracks have been used.

Mrs Britnell says the school has had no complaints in 22 years and has conducted this iconic Warrnambool business in a very responsible manner

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A statement posted on Mahogany Trail Rides facebook page by owner Sandra Wilson explains the situation further.

Some of you may have heard about the recent changes to the Belfast Coastal Reserve and how much of a negative impact it is having on my business.

For those who don’t know it’s about time I share my story.

Early December 2018 Parks Victoria rang me out of the blue to tell me that I had lost access to all tracks in the BCR except one. We had an arrangement and approved Tour Operator Licence with Parks since 2010 and have had no issues, have never been cautioned on any wrongdoing, no complaints made against us for misuse of the BCR.

We greatly appreciate the use of the beach and dunes, always respected the licence conditions, keeping to the tracks and water’s edge. We have conducted business in this way for over 22 years now. We also love the environment, the wildlife and history within the BCR.

Hoon Hill is a track that has been the highlight of the rides. It provides a wonderful experience for the riders and it allows the trail riders to access the beach safely all year round. The beach access track that I have been allocated is impassable sometimes due to the tidal effects creating “cliff’ edges. Without Hoon Hill I find that my business is under a great deal of pressure.

The Government has put up a lot of brick walls that I am finding difficult to climb over, they dismiss my requests for Hoon Hill Track access to be reinstated, and they keep referring me on to other departments. They require me to provide a Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars.

I feel they are trying to close my business down.

Rundells has given so much joy to so many people over the years of operation, self-esteem and confidence to children, teaching people skills, getting kids outdoors, school groups, riders with disabilities, mental health programs using horses as therapeutic animals, and of course for tourists from all around Australia and all over the world to enjoy the area and add an experience to their south west holiday.

I have nowhere else to turn and I am now asking the community to support me.

So to all my students, their parents and friends, to my loyal staff and patrons, could I ask that you help by writing to Ministers (listed on the post). Tell them about your experiences at Rundells.

Please share the post - like it and make a comment.

It would be most greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time and support.

Sandra Wilson.

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