Upper Hunter Shire Council has won an award for White Park Arena, from Parks and Leisure Australia for the 'Best Regional/Rural Industry Contribution' in NSW or ACT.

The undercover arena which opened earlier this year has already been a hit with performers and patrons.

“The new arena is a magnificent venue that will bring new equine and other entertainment events, and more visitors to the region,” Director Infrastructure Services, Nick Havyatt said.

“We are very proud of what has been achieved and look forward to completing the next stage of the project.”

Council’s Manager Special Projects, Alan Fletcher who accepted the award, said it was a shared achievement with the many user groups who had contributed their views to the project over many years.

After years of planning by Council’s White Park Management Committee, construction of the White Park Recreation and Equine Facility Development Stage 1 began at the end of 2017.

The full White Park project includes not just the undercover arena with seating for almost 3000, toilets, water and sewerage, but also eventually completing new stables and horse boxes, upgraded power supply, roadways, camping amenities, bar, canteen, landscaping and a crossing over Fig Tree Gully.

Stage 1 of the project was funded by Upper Hunter Shire Council and the NSW and Australian governments from the Restart NSW Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund, Stronger Country Communities (DPC NSW) and Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure Program - NSW Department of Industry.

The majority of the funding came from the NSW Government through a $1.47 million contribution from the Restart NSW Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund.

Council also successfully obtained a grant of $124,360 towards seating at White Park from the Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) program, an Australian Government funded initiative administered by the NSW Government to support tourism projects that drive demand and increase local tourism expenditure. Additional seating for the grandstand came from the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund with $139,280 in funding.

The new White Park facility builds on the Upper Hunter Shire’s standing as the Horse Capital of Australia.