NEWLY-elected councillor and Orange Showground advocate Ron Gander will change his tact when he fights for the showground’s future now he is a member of Orange City Council.
Although he always maintained he wanted to work with the council in his role as Orange Showground Action Group president, in the past Cr Gander was critical of council’s dealings with the show society and the user groups, accusing the council of hiding information from the public when matters were discussed in closed meetings, and saying the word of council staff could not be trusted.
But now he has secured a spot in the chamber, Cr Gander says he wants to learn the system before he shifts attention back on the showground and will put legal advice the action group received earlier in the year aside, for now.
“I don’t have any plans just determination and recommendations,” he said.
“I would much prefer to be part of a team than end up on opposite sides of a court room.
“I hope to get all the parties together again, I don’t want to stir up any bad blood.”
He said the showground should not be an immediate priority of the council, and was confident the new council would have a different approach.
He will stand down as the action group’s president so he can vote on all showground business in the chamber.
“I’ve had some encouraging words from different people, but it all has to be done within the framework financially and time wise,” he said.
A stalemate developed between the council and showground supporters earlier this year when the society would not enter into a trust agreement when the council moved to abolish the existing deed of covenant.
Cr Gander said reinstating a management committee, in line with clause five of the show society’s deed of covenant with the council, was the first priority to change the situation.
“The main thing people want to see is security of tenure,” he said.
“We’ve got lots of users that want to build it up ... they want to invest a lot of time and money but they want to be confident it will still be around.”
In the lead up to the council election the future of the showground was identified as a concern for some voters in a reader survey conducted by the Central Western Daily.
Cr Gander acknowledged his work with the showground did help him get elected, but was not the only reason he made it to the chamber.
“I wasn’t elected on one platform,” he said.
He hopes the showground can attract more major events and also be considered as an alternative venue for the annual New Year’s Eve event if more money is spent on the facility.