Cap­i­tal show pre­par­ing to share site

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

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,”

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