By EMMA CORNFORD
HAWTHORNE Park in Grafton should be transformed into an equestrian centre of excellence, according to enthusiasts in the Clarence Valley.
Park representatives, including Grafton Grand Muster organiser Rob Byrne, met with Clarence Valley councillors last week to discuss options for the park.
"It has been there for some decades and has grown over the years and ... it's fairly time critical to develop it because there are other areas around here which are interested in positioning themselves as a regional facility," Mr Byrne said.
"If this doesn't go ahead, and soon, we will lose a fantastic opportunity for the Clarence Valley."
Mr Byrne said he envisaged a regional centre to include an undercover arena to hold major events, more seating for spectators and a general improvement of the facility, including more fencing and a full-time caretaker.
"The facility as it is now is huge and so much of the grounds is now available to use so with a bit of care it can easily be made into an outstanding ground," he said.
"There really is no limit to the possibili- ties."