Granite Island horse tram will be invigorated after comprehensive report

A bit of history was made on Monday, October 16, when the elected members of the City of Victor Harbor rose as one to support a committee that had the independence to achieve some ground breaking recommendations.

The Independent Horse Tram Committee has been in existence for 15 months and was responsible for resolving an operation that has been a consistent drain on council and in turn residents’ finances.

Their report, which included interviewing people, past and present, associated with the service and researching through 20 years of documentation has an outcome which will produce a huge saving for our community.

Firstly it is full credit to the administration of the City of Victor Harbor for empowering this committee to fix the problem and to the members of the committee who spent so many hours coming to a conclusion which will save the community money and also keep the operation in council hands.

Just the sheer independence of the committee showed what can be done if the right people are in the right positions.

Chair of the committee was Carol Schofield and she led a team of professionals, including tourism guru Peter Lewis, councillor Terry Andrews, Brian Hockney who has a Bachelor of Economics and veterinarian Dr Kirsty Cordon.

Mr Hockney has a sharp mind when it comes to numbers and believes if all recommendations are initiated,  the operating deficit of the horse tram operation could fall from $441,000 to $145,000. That is a $296,000 reduction in operating loss each year.

The key recommendations from the committee and adopted by council include more horse tram trips, in-sourcing of the floating of the horses, which costs council currently $300 per day and  progressing the various steps required to establish a new management authority.

The acquisition of a vet on the committee was a major coup, as the health of the horses has been a major concern since the passing of BJ Coop in 2011. Dr Cordon found the horses needed more work and council has three more horses they will unveil in November.

It is an outstanding achievement by the committee and full credit to councillors Schofield and Andrews. They are two councillors who can say in their four year term they achieved something great for the community they serve.