By Melissa Meehan
SHOPKEEPERS in Cardinia are worried that a proposal to build a quarry in Sanders Road, Tonimbuk, will damage business.
Rumour is rife around town that if the proposal is given the green light, the Tonimbuk Equestrian Centre will be forced to close, leading to businesses losing thousands of dollars.
Karen McCormick, owner of Pakenham Western Wear, said she was worried her business would be affected if the equestrian centre closed down.
“They run all different kinds of events there, so we get a range of customers coming through,” she said. “It would probably equate to 30 per cent of business coming through the door and to lose that would be a fair chunk for me.”
Ms McCormick, also an equestrian fan, said it would be devastating to the area if the centre closed down.
“There is no where else to go on this side of town,” she said.
“If they were to close down, we would need to replace it somewhere else.”
Tonimbuk House owner Lindsay McNaught said many of his guests spent thousands of dollars locally when in Tonimbuk for equestrian events.
“There are many examples of purchases that were made in the area solely due to the Tonimbuk Equestrian Centre,” Mr McNaught said.
“Obviously, people use the pubs, petrol stations and accommodation providers like us, too.”
New Zealand visitor Lisa Pearson spent almost $5000 in a recent visit to the area.
“We bought a saddle for $2300, along with $1000 of boots and clothing from Pakenham Western Wear,” she said.
“We also spent about $500 from Pakenham Saddlery and Produces, I know a lot of people who bought a lot of gear from both of those places and not spending less than $1000 each.”
She said the shop at the equestrian centre, Annie’s Saddlery, was also busy on most days, and she herself spent $1000 in that store. Her sister also spent the same.
“It would be a shame for the people who were running the food caravan if the centre was to close,” she said.
“They were there all day supplying food and even ran an evening meal, which was a huge business for them.”
The New Zealander said it would be “terrible” if the centre were to close.
“We are still telling people what an amazing place it was.”
By Melissa Meehan