A LONG running effort to upgrade the old stockyards at Ashford Showground has been supported with a $13,500 State Government grant, announced by Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall.
Mr Marshall said the grant, secured by the Ashford Showground Trust, would see the old wooden stockyards replaced with steel and improvements the ground's kitchen and food preparation area.
"The Ashford Showground is always a hive of activity hosting the annual show and campdraft, dog trials and monthly pony club meetings," Mr Marshall said.
"For about 40 years the old stockyards have provided hours of entertainment for the community however time has taken a toll with old rails constantly falling down posing a safety risk for both competitors and animals.
"As grants have become available the trust has replaced the yards section by section with metal panels and this grant will totally complete that project.
"The trust will also use this funding to install a wall between the bar and food preparation areas which are both under the same roof helping the facility meet health standards."
Showground Trust Chairman David Thompson welcomed the grant and said it would greatly reduce the amount of maintenance needed to keep the stockyards running properly.
"Though the yards are old they have served the showground and community well over many years," Mr Thompson said.
"In this day and age however health and safety is of upmost importance and that's why it's been a priority of the trust to not only upgrade the stockyards but look at our food handling areas and ensure they meet modern standards.
"With so many people utilising the showground its important the stockyards are secure not only stopping animals like cattle getting out but preventing children from getting in."