Castle Hill Showground users wait to learn fate

Barking mad: Nor-West Canine Association president Ray Parker wants answers. Picture: Geoff Jones

Barking mad: Nor-West Canine Association president Ray Parker wants answers. Picture: Geoff Jones

The president of Nor-West Canine Association won't let sleeping dogs lie.

Ray Parker is hosting a community meeting on July 23 to discuss the future of Castle Hill Showground.

He is especially interested to hear whether Castle Hill Players, Nor-West Canine Association and the Castle Hill and Hills District Agricultural Society will have their licences to occupy portions of the showground renewed by The Hills Council and ratified by the state government before August 19.

Mr Parker has invited council general manager David Walker, mayor Michelle Byrne and Central Ward councillors Jeff Lowe, Tony Hay and Yvonne Keane to the meeting.

"They haven't said 'we're not continuing' but they haven't said 'we have'," Mr Parker said.

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.

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In Nor-West Canine Association's case, it's not just its 100 members who will be affected by the showground's closure but also the thousands of other dog lovers who use their facilities, including a $190,000 clubhouse built nine years ago with council assistance.

The council has allocated $140,000 towards a study for a leisure precinct plan at the showground. A spokesman told Fairfax Media in February that licence decisions would be made once the study was completed.

"We are dead-set against a stadium on the main arena; the talk was, at one point, of a sports stadium," Mr Parker said.

"Barry O'Farrell was also talking 25 storeys. I'd hate to see that."

The forum will have a question- and-answer session.

"It's a forum for the users who have been in the dark for nearly two years," Mr Parker said.

His association has a contingency plan.

"We'll start SOS — Save Our Showground," Mr Parker said.

Community meeting

The community meeting is on Wednesday, July 23, 7pm (for 7.30pm start) in the Federation Pavilion, Castle Hill Showground (entrance off Showground Road), Castle Hill.

RSVP to Lyne Fuller: Call 9634 2632 or email TCHSS@bigpond.com.au.

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