VICTOR HARBOR – City of Victor Harbor councillor Carol Schofield certainly takes her job seriously.
In 2016, Cr Schofield was given the tough task to chair the Independent Horse Tram committee. Together with Peter Lewis, Dr Kirsty Reid, councillor Terry Andrews and Brian Hockney they are in the process to recommend changes to the horse tram operation.
This is in response to the operation losing in excess of $400,000 per year and concerns on the health of the horses that pull the tram to Granite Island.
The committee will complete a report to be presented to council in the coming months.
Recently, on a self-funded trip with husband Jim, Cr Schofield visited the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom, where she looked at their horse tram service.
“They use Cydesdales too and they do two trips of 18 kilometres per day around the promenade at Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man,” Cr Schofield said.
“They have 32 trams, the horses work in paddocks ploughing and on the beach pulling discs. There is a manger of the service and the rest is run by volunteers. Even the track maintenance work is done by trained volunteers. It was absolutely fantastic and so educational. I even had a drive of the horse tram and you cannot do that here.”
Cr Schofield said there were so many facets of the business on the Isle of Man, which could be implemented for the Victor Harbor Horse Tram operation.
“We could train staff to check the rail line, to tow a trailer, look at sponsorship, tours of the stables for the public, prices, produce the horse tram’s own wine label, platting of the manes and tails of the horses and give the horses name tags so visitors and locals can easily identify them,” Cr Schofield said.
“It lifts the whole business. They shoe the horses in public and we could do the same and promote when it happens to make it an attraction. People would find that interesting to watch. We could push the history of the operation, as the Isle of Man Horse Tram Way Service had a lot or memorabilia and a museum set up, which was popular and chartered the service. We could do the same.”
On the finances of the service Cr Schofield said it was worth $11 million pounds to the economy and two years ago it was running at a $300,000 pound loss, returning only 18 per cent of its income and now it returns 50 per cent. The City of Victor Harbor Horse Tram operation returns 25 per cent of its income.