Work underway on a new amenities block at Inverell Showground as Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, right, discusses $109,020 COVID-19 Showground Stimulus grant with Showground Trust member Heather Morris and Chairman Ray White.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

TWO hundred and fifty rooftop solar panels will soon be supplying the electricity needs of the Inverell Showground, with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today announcing a $109,020 grant from the State Government’s COVID-19 Showground Stimulus package.

Mr Marshall said by installing the 100 kilowatt solar system the showground would become more financially and environmentally sustainable.

“Aside from maintenance, the largest fixed cost incurred by most of our region’s showground land managers is their electricity bill,” Mr Marshall said.

“To offset a $34,000 annual cost for the Inverell Showground, the land managers will use this grant to install solar panels on the northern side of the basketball pavilion and archery centre.

“This solar system will generate enough electricity to run the camp sites and buildings across the venue, reducing its reliance on mains power and pressure on the bank account.

“The money saved through this initiative will be spent on the future upkeep of Inverell Showground to ensure it remains functional and accessible to users groups.”

Inverell Showground Reserve Trust Chairman Ray White said one of the biggest jobs facing the current land mangers was addressing the antiquated electrical systems.

“This solar system could be one of the most important developments in the long history of Inverell Showground,” Mr White said.

“From now on nearly every dollar raised from campers and ground hire can be spent on improving facilities instead of covering expensive overheads.

“It is my hope this project will financially pave the way for other initiatives like installing new LED light towers around the main arena and the replacement of unsafe overhead power lines with an underground system.

“From early July the panels will start to arrive on site, thanks to a Guyra based business Arkana Energy Group, with the installation expected to be finished by the end of the month.

“While this and other projects on site are being completed Inverell Showground will remain closed to campers, but we hope to be able to welcome back visitors from the start of August.

“The land managers can’t thank Adam or the State Government enough for helping future proof this important community asset.”

Mr Marshall also inspected the construction of two new amenities blocks on the southern side of the grounds.

“Last year the Trust received close to $500,000 through the NSW Crown Lands safety improvements program to update toilet facilities on site,” Mr Marshall said.

“The old amenities have been demolished and the new concreate slab and plumbing put down in preparation for individual new male and female amenities blocks.

“Each building will be equipped with 10 toilets, three showers and disabled facilities helping Inverell Showground cater for a potential increase in campers.

“These works are expected to be finished in August, just in time for the Showground to reopen to campers and the public.”

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