Land surrounding Dowling Forest Racecourse in country Victoria may be zoned in order to protect Ballarat’s $44 million racing industry should the Ballarat Planning Scheme Amendment C149 go ahead.
Sections of land that has been currently set aside for farming will be zoned for use by thoroughbreds under the amendment and house allotment sizes will be restricted to two hectares.
Senior strategic planner Jessie Keating said the amendment would hopefully lead to a new training facility that was expected to inject a further $11.5 million into the local economy.
“This makes the training operations of Dowling Forest unique and presents an opportunity to grow thoroughbred training operations in Ballarat,” Ms Keating said.
“The proposed changes will better protect and facilitate privately owned land surrounding the racetrack for horse training facilities and associated dwellings, whilst removing the risks posed by ‘pseudo rural living’ development.
“It is estimated that over half of the new dwellings around the course are unrelated to the racing industry, introducing conflicting rural living lifestyle and the risk of permanent loss of land for horse-training facilities.”
Ballarat Counsellor Noel Perry believes the amendment is vital to the local thoroughbred industry being able to move forward.
“We have the potential to make it Victoria’s regional training centre,” Cr Perry said.
“We need to address and protect the precinct for thoroughbred racing.”