Castle Hill Showground groups remain in limbo

CASTLE Hill Showground could lose its long-standing tenants if their licences aren't renewed soon.

Castle Hill Players, Nor-West Canine Association and the Castle Hill and Hills District Agricultural Society are in limbo over the delay in having their licences to occupy portions of the showground renewed by The Hills Council and gratified by the state government before August 17.

Because the showground is Crown land, the state government must also approve the licences.

If licences aren't renewed, the community groups risk having to find alternative facilities.

Castle Hill Players president Stephen Snars said he was disappointed because the council hadn't made a decision to renew their licences.

"We start work on next year's activities next month," Mr Snars said.

"We spend time and money for next year now.

"How can you spend money logically if you don't know how many years you will be here for?"

Castle Hill and Hills District Agricultural Society president Peter Gooch said he was in a similar situation.

Ray Parker said the Nor-West Canine Association had invested more than $1 million into the showground and would not receive a cent if they were asked to leave.

"From all the activities we do, we generate funds back into the showground of which becomes a council asset," Mr Parker said. "If we have no tenure then we lose everything that we have invested in the showground, no compensation whatsoever."

Chairman of Friends of Castle Hill Showground Harry Hyland said there weren't any other centrally-located facilities to house these groups.

"No one wants to travel an hour to participate in activities when there are perfectly good facilities here," Mr Hyland said.

Agricultural society secretary Lyne Fuller said it was up to the community to step in and voice concerns.

"What we really need is for the community to know if they sit back we are going to lose it," she said.

The council has allocated $140,000 towards a study for a leisure precinct plan at the showground.

A council spokesman said a decision on all licences would be made once the study was completed.

"The council is currently undertaking a study and developing a plan to grow the showground into a major leisure precinct to be enjoyed by the community for the next 100 years and beyond," he said.

"The study will seek to identify how the showground can be used and developed to be enjoyed in the future."

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