Dubbo’s showground facilities ‘disgraceful’: Shields

Dubbo Showground is an ‘eyesore’ and does a poor job of selling Dubbo as a progressive and vibrant city, mayor Ben Shields has said.

Mr Shields said one of his main goals when coming into office was getting a showground that was modern and met the needs of the city.

“The showground facilities are nothing less than disgraceful,” Mr Shields said.

“Everything from the grandstand to the toilet blocks are antiquated and in need of major repairs or upgrading.

Not only were the current facilities dated and an eyesore, he said, but they were also holding back events that could be attracted.

“One of our prime ways we generate income for our region is by having visitors and events at our showground and the run down state of the Showground needs to be a priority,” Mr Shields said.

“Events held at the ground bring thousands of people to our region and when they go to that facility, we want to ensure they see it as modern and well-run.

“The Caravan and Camping show drags in people from all across Australia and as a city, we can’t afford to have a showground that looks like something you would see in a small country town decades ago.

“They shouldn’t leave thinking this is Dubbo’s best because at the moment it clearly isn’t.”

He said the current showground and facilities were a class below what was required for major events, but for small shows and events, it wasn’t versatile enough, and the cost of hiring the whole ground when using a small section was prohibitive.

Mr Shields pointed to the Dubbo and District Kennel Club, who he said faced huge costs whenever they wanted to host a dog show.

“It’s been made hard for them because of costs and the state of facilities,” he said.

“These little shows can bring new people into town and when you get a few of them, they can bring just as many people to town as a major event.”

Mr Shields said tourism was crucial to Dubbo’s economy and ensuring facilities were both state-of-the-art and functional was a major part of attracting visitors and events.