Capital show preparing to share site
RA HOTEL could be built on the site of the Hobart showground as part of proposed changes to boost financial viability.
As well as the hotel, there are also plans to build medium-density housing on the Glenorchy property.
About 40,000 people attended this year’s three-day Royal Hobart Show, hitting the lower end of the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania’s target.
The busiest day was Thursday with more than 21,000 people through the gates and exhibitors reporting a ripper day. Friday night was also busy but Saturday’s weather, including forecast high winds, seemed to keep people away with only 5000 attending.
RAST chief executive Scott Gadd said the new three-day format had proved successful but organisers would talk about plans for next year. He said a two-day format would not be considered but the show could move to run from Wednesday to Friday.
The RAST has started discussions with prospective hotel and accommodation providers to determine interest.
Society chief executive officer Scott Gadd said the organisation remained committed to staging the annual Royal Hobart Show and accommodating other community events, but there was room for other ventures on the 17ha footprint.
He said radical changes were needed to maintain an income stream and keep the Hobart show alive.
“We are committed to the show, but we have to find other ways to make money,” he said.
The mooted hotel could also include office space.
While there are not yet any detailed plans, Mr Gadd said a hotel could possibly rise to four or five storeys. He said affordable housing could rise to the same height.
The project would require government involvement and the RAST would want an existing service provider involved.
Mr Gadd said the constant flow of homeless people at the showgrounds this year had highlighted the need for more affordable housing.
“We saw the need he said.
The plans to further activate the site follows a meeting between the society’s board and senior staff, which identified the organisation was asset rich but cash poor.
They identified the 17ha site was under-utilised, as the Royal Hobart Show has never required such a large footprint.
Mr Gadd said Thursday’s crowd of 10,000 for the opening day of the show proved the event was still viable, but costs were rising. The biggest price hike this year was power, which went up 100 per cent, and insurance which increased by $100,000.
“The world of compliance and safety we live in rolls in a whole wave of costs, and they will only get worse,” he said.
RAST also awaits a planning decision on another retail development next to Bunnings. The State Government has supported the show this year through a $1.5 million grant to build a new pavilion. firsthand,”