Farmers united to divide the showground for the future in Claremont

Claremont Showground.
Claremont Showground.

ROYAL Agricultural Society (RAS) president Paul Carter says rejecting the latest draft concept to rejuvenate Claremont Showground will not stop planning for the future of the site, whose annual Royal Show has been losing money for several years.

“It would just put the RAS back into planning mode, and I don’t say it would put the organisation at risk because we are well capitalised and we do what we have always done both during the good and bad times,” Mr Carter said.

He predicts a turnaround of about $700,000 to be announced from the last Royal Show in several months, after losses excluding depreciation of $700,000 in 2017-18, $383,000 in 2016-17 and $574,000 the previous financial year.

The Showground Management Plan released last week slightly reduces the scope of an earlier plan which has been sitting before State governments since 2015.

The new plan divides the showground into eight precincts, including markets, an agriculture centre of excellence, and getting more outside groups such as a soon to open men’s shed and sports on the main arena, to use the facilities outside of the Royal Show time.

One of its more visible proposals would be removing many walls which surround the showground to integrate it with the adjacent north-east precinct around Claremont Oval.

“Nowhere in the plan does it mention apartments,” Mr Carter said.

He repeated the society’s position of not moving to a new site, after its research indicated 78 per cent of Perth residents want to see the showground remain an entertainment venue.

Last week, Premier Mark McGowan said the new plan was “good” because it had some development and additional attractions.

However, Claremont mayor Jock Bark, an advocate of a new site for the RAS, said the draft plan should not be supported because it would “lock-up” the showground for 100 years and did not meet requirements for the State policy of transit-orientated development.

Public comment on the draft plan is at www.dplh.wa.gov.au until March 10.