ORANGE Showground supporters say they will begin legal action against Orange City Council and may seek compensation after councillors ruled out a proposal to retain the deed of covenant for a second time.
“Council will be hearing from our solicitors in the coming weeks to clarify what the council’s problems are,” Orange Showground Action Group president Ron Gander said.
“We don’t intend to give up.”
Council will progress with plans to operate the showground under a Crown land trust after a move to overturn the decision and retain the existing deed with a management committee was lost at Thursday’s council meeting.
Two councillors behind the rescission motion, Reg Kidd and Jeff Whitton, wouldn’t rule out a trust arrangement but said it should be up to the committee to decide the future direction.
But Cr Glenn Taylor said the council needed to “put the interests of the many before the interests of the few”, abolish the deed and go ahead with the trust.
“I support the retention of the current showground but a lot out there don’t ... they don’t want it in residential area,” he said.
Mr Gander disagreed saying the group did have the community’s support.
Cr Gavin Priestley said the deed of covenant in 1987 was established because the showground committee at the time was in serious financial trouble.
He suggested following a trust model similar to the Bathurst Showground where the council doesn’t offer any support for the grounds.
“If people are going to run the enterprise they have to make it successful,” he said.
But Cr Jeremy Buckingham said the showground should be retained as community-owned land with the establishment of a management committee.
“It might be rough around the edges but it’s a real asset,” he said.
“I think it would be terrible if we neglect these buildings.”