Tasmanian horse breeders may be forced to participate in costly interstate sales if an appeal over a car park development at Inveresk is ruled against them.
TasBreeders, an organisation representing horse breeders, has detailed the "undue hardship" it will experience if a decision to lease the Inveresk site to the University of Tasmania is approved.
A hearing was held on Friday by the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal to hear evidence from both sides about the proposed development.
TasBreeders president Dave Manshanden said the Magic Millions yearling sale, held annually in Launceston at that site, required significant infrastructure to hold.
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It has been running at that site since 1999, after TasBreeders came to an agreement with the Launceston Show Society.
"To hold a sale we need to have a significant number of horse stalls, loading ramps, wash bays, without those things we don't have a sale," Mr Manshanden said.
Between 130 to 145 yearlings are entered in the sale each year, and Mr Manshanden said the sale generated $3.3 million in economic activity to Launceston and Tasmania.
He said horse stalls, which are removable, have been established at the site but if it were required to move then the organisation would love infrastructure such as wash bays and ramps.
The lease to the site at Inveresk, which is held by the Launceston Show Society, is due to expire in October, but in March, the group announced it had voluntarily relinquished the site to the council.
Subsequently, a deal was struck between the City of Launceston Council and the University of Tasmania, who plan to develop the site into an 800-space car park, to cater for its new campus.
Mr Manshanden said while the topic of the lease had come up in years gone by, the first they new of its being actually relinquished was in March, which did not give TasBreeders much time to move.
"We are not against the development, neither are we against moving, but we have not got enough time to move before the next sale," he said.
The Magic Millions yearling sale is held in February each year and Mr Manshanden said while it was possible to move the day for the 2020 event, there was not yet an alternative site proposed.
"We need a fit-for-purpose site to move to that gives us access to sheds to put up our stalls," he said.
In addition, there were complex other reasons, such as the age and conditions of the horses, which made February the ideal time.
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City of Launceston Council chief executive Michael Stretton said the council was willing to work with TasBreeders to find an alternative site to host the Magic Millions yearling sale.
"The council would like to see the yearling sales stay in the North. It is a significant event and regardless of where it is held in the city, there are benefits for the entire region," Mr Stretton said.
He said the council has stated on a number of occasions that it was willing to assist in finding an alternative site and that council staff had been liaising with landowners and other stakeholders over potential other sites for the event.
Mr Manshanden said TasBreeders were disappointed at the communication over the lease situation and had hoped to extend the lease until after the 2020 sale.
However, during a meeting between TasBreeders and UTAS, which was facilitated and attended by the council, an agreement on that could not be reached.
A University of Tasmania spokesman said the car park was planned for construction in November.
"Car parking is an important part of the development of the University's new campus at Inveresk, and we are required to ensure sufficient parking is provided throughout the project," the spokesperson said.
UTAS declined to comment further on the appeal because the situation was ongoing.
The tribunal will hear a second hearing on the matter on September 15 at 10am.