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Woodhill Sands Trust 2023 AGM - Report from the Chair

Woodhill Sands Trust 2023 AGM - Report from the Chair

Jenette Bell
/ Categories: News

WST AGM 2023

Report from the Chair

This is the second year we have brought our AGM to the public and we are so pleased to have all of our guests join us. Every one of you is an owner of this amazing venue and we are grateful for your participation and support of the venue.

After a challenging few years with the resource consent and judicial review court processes we had somewhat hoped that Woodhill’s pathway would be a little clearer this year.  Unfortunately, the weather gods had other ideas and our year has been impacted by ongoing rain and some very significant storm damage. In addition to the cost-of-living pressures on households there is no doubt that our riding community have been finding it hard to find their mojo and we are seeing lower numbers across most disciplines. Rising costs have hit us also, unsurprisingly in medic costs, but also fuel and wages. Further interest rate changes as our loans roll over will continue to impact us.

We are proud to report a total operating revenue of $842,000, and note that this revenue is slightly higher than that of the National Equestrian Centre in Taupo, which operates as a campervan park as well as a venue for non-horse related activities. Given Woodhill is a dedicated horse-riding venue only we think this is an incredible achievement. We are so grateful to Auckland Council for their support through the operations grant and the facilities investment fund, and to our entire family of sponsors who contribute the cash we need to keep the venue looking in great shape, and keep putting on shows week in and week out.

We managed to purchase a new tractor and some new equipment during the year which has certainly made our operations more reliable, with the new Mule and arena groomer making it far more user friendly for our user groups to maintain the arena surfaces.

During the year we encountered some challenges around resourcing the venue through staff movements. During this time Show jumping Waitemata stepped in and supported the venue and we are immensely grateful for their support during trying times. We are also delighted to welcome Waimauku Adult Riding group who will be based at Woodhill from October for their weekly gathering. The wet season has also seen an increase in Pony Club use and we have very much enjoyed having a younger generation of riders get to experience Woodhill. I know for the kids this makes it that little bit easier to step up to our Grass Roots shows and beyond. This increasing community use is exactly what we are here for, and along with a return to our mid-week open days it is opening the doors for a wider range of riders and disciplines.

I would like to thank our amazing team of staff, who all consistently go above and beyond to keep our grounds looking beautiful, and our shows running smoothly. Our senior leaders Shelley, Emma, Angela, Louise and Jenette have done a truly fantastic job. Thanks also to every volunteer and our dedicated officials who give up their time to keep our shows running.

At a Trustee level we have farewelled Kathryn Roberts and Glen Beal, and are sad to say farewell to Lloyd who is also ready for some new pursuits. We sincerely thank them all for their contribution which has been so valuable. We welcomed Sarah Wheeler and Nadine Bell onto the Board and recruitment for new Trustees is underway now and you can expect to see those come out in the next month or so.

We are still awaiting our consent decision, and whilst this has taken an extraordinarily long time we are hopeful that the Judge and Commissioners are making some sensible decisions about the merits of the extensive number and complexity of conditions.

Looking forward we have a number of capital works projects to deliver in the near future, so you can expect an irrigation project, a new sound system and of course you may have seen the progress underway with the new ablutions block. Our Trustee Tony Bult has been instrumental in the delivery of this project.

In closing, as we near our sixth anniversary of community ownership, let’s celebrate only 14 years left of mortgage and the amazing legacy we are creating, a riding venue preserved in the most densely populated region in New Zealand, for generations to come.

Philippa Fourie

Woodhill Sands Trust Chair

18 September 2023




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