RCoW Showgrounds committee ‘Dysfunctional’
Written by PHILIP NOLAN.THE Rural City of Wangaratta’s plan to turn the showgrounds into an "elite" sporting facility has hit a hurdle with the resignation of the chairman of the ground’s management committee.
Graeme Taylor, who is also chief executive of the Wangaratta Sports Club, tendered his resignation last week, claiming the council-appointed committee of management had become "dysfunctional" due to ongoing division between the user groups.
He also cited the lack of consultation with the committee of management over the council’s plans for the ground as a major concern.
Mr Taylor said the time had come for a full review of the ground’s management structure.
"It may have been fine 20 years ago, but I don’t believe it is workable now," he said.
"The committee is not functioning as it was intended to.
"The council appointed this committee to run the showgrounds, but division among user group representatives has meant that it has been very difficult to make decisions.
"We have then had the situation of dissatisfied parties going direct to council, and this really undermines the committee of management."
There are 11 different user groups represented on the committee of management, plus two community members.
However, some members are involved with more than one individual group.
"I have been involved with the committee for around 20 years, and in the main, it has always been a pretty harmonious group," he said.
"However, I am now being put in the position of having to decide of conflicts of interest and points or order, and we just cannot make any decisions.
"That is not what committee was meant to be about.
"It is also difficult with the council talking about plans for an elite facility but us as a committee not having a great involvement in those plans.
"I would have thought we would have been the first body consulted.
"I understand and support the council’s plan for the facility, and if anything, that strengthens the view that a new model of ground management looks the way to go.
"I am hopeful that by bringing the issue to a head, it will be discussed in a constructive manner and we can find a new way to move forward."
The city council is keen to develop the showgrounds as the region’s top sports venue, with the aim of winning both the Ovens and Murray Football League grand final and also AFL pre-season competition matches on a regular basis.
However, one of the major issues to that for the upgrade to take place, the cycle track would have to be removed.
This has already prompted a strong reaction from cycle club officials and members, and the council has agreed to consult extensively about any planned relocation prior to further planning.