The main structure in the $2 million Kilkivan Equestrian Centre may be named the Vern Berry Building if local community groups agree (Photo: Gympie Regional Council)

June 29, 2019

Kilkivan’s new $2 million equestrian building will be named after a local volunteer if Kilkivan residents back the idea.

At last Wednesday’s monthly Council meeting, Division 6 councillor Hilary Smerdon said while he had no objection to plans to rename the entire complex the Kilkivan Showgrounds and Equestrian Centre, he believed the principal structure should be named the Vern Berry Building.

Mr Berry, 60, died unexpectedly after a short illness on June 18.

Cr Smerdon said Mr Berry had spent most of his life in the area and was “a very committed, community-minded man”.

“Without his support a lot of the local community organisations would have folded,” Cr Smerdon said.

“He was involved in nearly every committee at the showgrounds over the years, and always went above and beyond what was expected.

“There has been a lot of community support to name the new Equestrian Centre in honour of Vern in recognition of his services to the community over the years.”

Cr Smerdon’s proposal was queried by several fellow Councillors and Mayor Mick Curran.

They said they did not object to the proposal but believed it would be more appropriate if the call to name the centre after Mr Berry came from the community rather than a councillor.

Cr Smerdon agreed to leave the matter on the table for the August meeting.

He said he would return with letters of support from local community groups who had suggested the idea.

Construction of the Equestrian Centre began in April. It is expected to be officially opened in September in conjunction with this year’s Kilkivan Great Horse Ride.

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FLASHBACK: Vern Berry (at left) showing off some of the merchandise prepared for the 2013 Tom Quilty held at Kilkivan that year (Photo: Kilkivan Quilty)

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