S.O.S - Save Our Show!
WHAT needs to happen to Save Our Show?
The answer seems to be a lightning-speed resolution of the impasse between the Coffs Harbour Show Society and the administrator of the Coffs Harbour Showground Trust over a disputed sum of $20,900 for office services for the Show, coupled with wholehearted support from the community.
Show Society secretary, Lorraine Tibbs, said planning for the April 25-27 Show usually began in December, so unless the matter was resolved immediately it would be too late.
Coffs Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades said he was 'totally disappointed' at the decision to cancel the Show and thought the dispute over the $20,900, even though it represented 'an absolute mountain of money' to a small community group, should be put to one side until after the event.
Ms Tibbs said the Society was not willing to do so because it would still be hanging over their heads after the Show.
Show Society committee member Leonie Everitt said she wished the Showground was under council control, as other council-managed grounds had no such troubles.
The mayor, who is due to meet the NSW Minister for Lands in the next fortnight, said he was more than willing to approach the State Government and would be talking with the Minister about the $20,900 and the cancellation of the Show as well as what the Government's long-term intention for the Showground was.
"It is obvious the government is going down the straight commercial line it's not the only place it is happening," Cr Rhoades said.
Kempsey Showground's community trust was removed last week.
Ms Tibbs said the April 25-27 date of the 2008 Show could not be changed because it had already been locked into the Showmen's Guild circuit and the NSW agricultural show circuit and the Society had already paid fees for the dog show and cat show that are part of the annual show.
The Showmen's Guild was due to holding a meeting yesterday on the issue.
The vice-president of the Showmen's Guild, Paul Hennessy, said in Coffs Harbour last month that he was very concerned about the problems with the show.
Cancellation of the event will affect many of the Guild's members, who operate most of the show's rides, sideshows and food kiosks.
Leonie Everitt, who attended Friday's meeting with Trust administrator Kate Young and Trust business development manager Chris Stratton, said the two Trust representatives had said they wanted to see the Show go ahead.
She said when asked what they could do to help, they had said they were doing as much as they could and were not charging the Show Society commercial rents.
But Mrs Everitt said she believed it was already too late to save this year's Show and it might be better to try to start up again next year with a new committee and new arrangements.
Ms Tibbs said there had been an excellent roll-up to Sunday's working bee at thew Showground and the show jumps had been moved to the Nana Glen Equestrian and Sports Ground.