Group's big, fat 'no' to surrendering Gladstone land
THE GLADSTONE Show Society has broken its silence on whether it will be surrendering the show-grounds to the council - by signing a two year contract with an event management company.
Owner of KCS Events Cliver Feathersby said, speaking on behalf of the society, the show would definitely go on this year and in 2018.
In other words, its a big, fat, "no" from the society to give up the trusteeship of the land just yet.
Mr Featherby said his company entered into the contract with the society in the hope of reviving one of Gladstone "most iconic and longest-standing events".
And in the next two years, the society has "no intentions" of surrendering the land at the show-grounds to the Gladstone Regional Council, who want to use the land to build a multi-sporting arena.
Mr Featherby said the council's proposal was "ridiculous" and building on the grounds would limit the number of shows and events held in the Gladstone region.
"I used to be a resident of the Gladstone region, and I know the town and the people very well," he said.
"I know that the owners of the show society, the Redcliffe's, have had many discussions with the council over the years and it has been an ongoing battle.
"What I don't understand is, if the council think the show is not worthy of the Gladstone region, why haven't they pitched in with some funding to help boost it and keep it going?"
Mr Featherby claimed that each year the council only donated $5000 to help run the show, compared to a $15,000 donation to help run the Mt Larcom Show.
He said the council "couldn't possibly" expect the Gladstone society to run an efficient vibrant show with such a small allocation.
"Most shows don't survive without funding, and I know for many years the Redcliffe's have been self-funding it, just to keep it afloat," he said.
"They have had no support.
"I know the show has a bad name in Gladstone, people say its boring and lacks entertainment. But you can only do what you can do with what you're given."
Previously, Gladstone deputy mayor Chris Trevor said if the society refused to hand over the trusteeship to the council, the council would submit a formal request to the Crown, which owns the land, and ask for trusteeship.
Cr Trevor said as part of that submission, he would include how dangerous the Dawson Hwy road was with hockey players having to cross the highway to the carpark, highlighting the need to at least build a public carpark at the grounds.
"The Redcliffe's said they would allow this, come and build a carpark, let people use the grounds," Mr Featherby said.
"But keep them as show-grounds, don't ruin this valuable piece of real estate and Gladstone's only show-ground by chucking up some sporting infrastructure."
Mr Featherby said it was disappointing that the council was taking away the Gladstone Show Day public holiday, meaning that the show will have to run on a normal weekday.
"Show Day is an Australian tradition - and its a completely different event to the Harbour Festival (an Easter celebration event) and the Mt Larcom Show (an agricultural show)," Mr Featherby said.
"To take away a city-wide day off, I guess it just means we will have to reschedule the itinerary and have all of the exciting events for later in the afternoon.
"I don't understand why the council is trying to push an event out, especially one that has been running for 125 years, they should be doing everything they can to save it."
Mr Featherby said if the council does submit to take trusteeship of the land, he suspects the Redcliffe's will fight for it.
"It is a rather lengthy procedure and at the end of the day it is the Crown's decision - not the council's," he said.
"Especially if lawyers get involved, I dare-say it will probably an issue that carries out, depending how bad both parties will fight."
Despite this, Mr Featherby said with KCS Events on board, the Gladstone Show will be run entirely different this year.
From next week Gladstone residents can expect to see a number of flyers and advertisement up around town promoting the show, as part of a KCS promotion campaign.
"There's going to be a number of new attractions, rides entertainments and stall at this year's show to celebrate 125 years.
"We have launched a new website and Facebook page, moving into the modern era.
"I hope the town will embrace this and get out to the show on Wednesday August 9 it will be a fun day for all the family."
The Observer has not heard directly from the Redcliffe's however, Mr Featherby said he was speaking on behalf of the couple.
The Observer will also contact the council in regards to the show society's decision.