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Golden Bay Grandstand - Legal proceedings

8 June 2018 10pm
The Golden Bay Grand Stand Community Trust and the Golden Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Association filed proceedings in the High Court today to seek a judicial review of Tasman District Council's decisions to demolish the historic grandstand at the Golden Bay showgrounds.

The court case asks the Court to examine Council's decisions. The Trust and the Association say the Council decisions are unlawful and should be set aside. Council's decisions saw the 105 year old Produce Booth at the showgrounds demolished in 2016. Ever since the local community has tried repeatedly to persuade the Council at Richmond that the proposed demolition of the 120 year old structurally sound grandstand at the same site is not the right decision.

The A&P Association has rights to the showgrounds and buildings that are being ignored by the Council. While trying to maintain constructive relationships for the good of the district's renowned annual show day the Association has been placed in an unreasonable situation where the rights it holds to use the showgrounds and buildings free of charge are now in danger of being overridden by the Council and the administering body for the reserve. These rights are protected by Parliament but the Council has ignored the legislation in its decisions to demolish the grandstand. The Association donated the showgrounds land and a sum of money in return for these use rights. Council cannot forget or ignore that bargain.

There is wide community support for retaining the grandstand. 200 people turned out for a spirited protest organised at short notice on Tuesday. Volunteers are caring for the site while it is under imminent threat of demolition. Support teams are helping those volunteers. The community knows that its grandstand is too important a facility to abandon to unreasonable decisions taken in Richmond.

Today the Council made a media release saying that demolition won't now start on Monday 11 June. Council said this was because the contractor was not available on that day. No information about the replacement plan and timing for demolition has been disclosed so the community is remaining vigilant.

This development comes on the same day that Council refused a request from the Trust and the Association that Council promise not to do anything to progress the planned demolition while the High Court decides whether or not to make orders to prevent demolition of the grandstand while the court case is heard. The consequence of that refusal is that an urgent teleconference has to be held on Monday with the High Court.

‘The Trust has been reluctant to pursue expensive legal proceedings. It really is a last resort for a voluntary community group when all attempts to make Council see sense have failed. Wherever possible the Trust has tried alternatives. This has included detailed work on a Trust restoration plan for the grandstand that was rejected by Council. Then the Grandstand Restoration Society was formed and the Trust willingly stepped back to see if the Restoration Society's proposals could be the basis for an agreed outcome and mended relationships with Council. Sadly, those proposals were also rejected on 24 May 2018 by Council in a climate where incomplete information was presented to councillors by council staff’ says trustee Hazel Pearson.

‘The Association has also been most reluctant to start an expensive court case. Our business is running the best show in the Bay. We donated the land and money in return for having unimpeded rights to hold our annual show in perpetuity. We shouldn't have to be going to court to hold the Council to account for the way in which they have tried to undermine those rights or take away our grandstand.' says Noel Bagient of the A&P Association.

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