'I'll not have blood on my hands': Group ordered to surrender land
THE Gladstone Show public holiday will be scrapped from next year.
The Gladstone Regional Council has given the Gladstone Show Society a deadline of April 7 to decide whether it will, "in the best interests of the Gladstone community", surrender the showgrounds to the council for re-purposing.
At the council's general meeting today deputy mayor Chris Trevor made a plea to his fellow councillors to support his motion and plan to have a carpark and multi-purpose sporting arena built on the showgrounds in lieu of the show.
For this to happen, the show society would have to surrender the grounds to council.
If it refuses the request, the society will have to run the show on a working weekday with the council pulling the public holiday from underneath it regardless. Last year the show was held on Wednesday, August 10.
If the society does not surrender the trusteeship over the land, the council will take the next step and request the Queensland Government make it the trustees.
It will do this by using written submissions from community members to show "evidence" as to why the change of trusteeship would be in the town's bests interests, Cr Trevor said.
Cr Trevor said it didn't matter what the show society decided, depending on the Gladstone's community preference, the Gladstone Show Holiday would be no more and the city-wide day off would be moved to another day and event. As reported in The Observer last month, Cr Trevor suggested the Gladstone Show could combine with the Mr Larcom Show to create a much larger event.
"(It could go to an event) like the Boyne Tannum Hook Up, the Melbourne Cup, the Harbour Festival or we could even create a new event for the city-wide day off," Cr Trevor said.
"Ultimately, this will be up to the community, and if all goes to plan, it will be done through council's usual feedback process.
"But this decision is not made lightly, and definitely not in any disrespect towards any of society members or volunteers and all of the amazing work they do."
Cr Trevor spoke excitedly about the idea of a sporting arena.
He said the construction would bring hundreds of jobs, produce sporting champions and allow Gladstone to become a district, state or even a national hub for sporting carnivals.
"Councillors, this is just one small example," Cr Trevor said. "The tip of the iceberg ... build it - and they will come..
"But we have an urgent public safety issue which we must immediately address. I will not have blood on my hands as a result of the dangerous situation that we know or ought to know about.
"The young hockey children and adults who play Russian roulette with cars on the Dawson Highway every Saturday and weekday training days ... this must stop now.
"Someone is going to get maimed or killed there ... a carpark (at) the showgrounds' land must be a number one priority for this current council."
Cr Trevor said the construction of the arena would have a positive domino effect on the region, not only creating jobs, but would fast-track stage two of construction of the Port Access road.
"By relocating the some 700 netballers that play on the fields next to PCYC we would be paving the way to speed up that process," he said.
"This is even more jobs for the Gladstone region."
Cr Trevor said, without going into much detail, there was potential for the construction of sporting arena to be funded through an infrastructure package.
"Conversations have been held as late as last week with the office of Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd and the Regional Jobs Infrastructure Package for Central Queensland concerning this project," he said.
"So, accordingly I also call upon Glenn Butcher to allocate sufficient funding in this year's State Budget for detailed design and planning for Stage 2 of the Port Access Road so the project can proceed."
It was a unanimous decision among councillor's to vote for what could be the final curtain call for the Gladstone Show.
"It's over," Mayor Matt Burnett said.
"I am good friends with the current trustees of the land, and I know they will be disappointed over this decision.
"But this is council's vision for the Gladstone region, and while we acknowledge that this year's Gladstone Show will be the 125th, it could also very well be the last one."
Cr Trevor said the Show Society had made no effort to respond to the council. The Observer has also failed to receive a response in its attempts to contact the society.