After Rocky's show split, chances of a reunion are fading
A TRAPEZIUM is the proper name for a triangular-shaped block of land that lies at the heart of the bitter Rockhampton Show dispute.
The land dispute - which saw the Rockhampton Show torn into two rival shows in 2018 - is headed for a dramatic intervention by Rockhampton Region Council after news has emerged of the Showmens Guild rejecting Rockhampton Agricultural Show Society's offer of a compromise.
The offer saw the agricultural society (literally) giving ground ahead of their self-imposed August 31 deadline to reach a resolution before they would start exploring their options for alternative ride operators for next year's show.
After the rival shows were held in June, Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow said the ongoing disagreement was damaging to the reputation of the city.
She demanded the warring parties sort out their differences (by mediation if necessary) and reserved the right of the council in their role as the landlord of Rockhampton Showgrounds to intervene and force land allocations if a reunion compromise couldn't be reached.
When Rockhampton Agricultural Show Society chief executive Julie Collins was asked what would happen in the case of a council intervention, she admitted they were powerless to stop it but wondered how it would be possible.
"We've had a meeting with the mayor and that was not discussed, it was a suggestion which I don't know whether there's been enough consideration put into the logistics on how that could work,” Ms Collins said.
Keen to negotiate a solution, Ms Collins produced a draft map, featuring a trapezium space sharing compromise, allowing a strip of guild rides to back onto the wood chop.
"There would be space, you could put temporary fencing up (to protect against flying wood chips) but they wouldn't be able to have a generator here as the wood choppers count on hearing the announcer,” she said.
"They've asked us for a suggestion, all we're required to do is give them space, how they use that is up to them.”
She sent the proposed map to the Showmens Guild at the start of August and awaited the outcome of their Thursday meetings as to how they would proceed on the space issue.
Another sticking point for an agreement was the fact that for the past four years, the guild has not shown the show society their their insurance certification to run the rides with adequately trained staff, which Ms Collins regarded as a potential future deal-breaker.
She said this was particularly important in light of incidents at shows held around the country and the fatal ride disaster at Dreamworld.
The Australian Showmens Guild responded to Rockhampton Agricultural Show Society's proposed layout changes and addressed concerns regarding insurance certification.
Fresh out of a meeting with guild members to discuss whether show rides and wood choppers could co-exist, the Showmens Guild Rockhampton president Luke Hennessy said his members rejected the society's map.
"We asked the Rockhampton show society to provide us with a positive option to take back to our members but have received nothing so far,” Mr Hennessy said.
"Just the same situation that we disagreed to back in January of this year.
"Our members did not want to accept the proposed map.”
He said the situation had grown past the initial issue of site displacement.
"Both the show society and Showmens Guild will have to agree to many of the evolving issues which are now present after the 2018 split,” he said.
"Gate entrance price, entertainment, etc.
"We believe that the August 31 deadline is too short to iron out all the issues between both parties.
"I will be meeting up with the Rockhampton representatives at the upcoming Ekka in an attempt to move forward with the 2019 show.”
Mr Hennessy said the insurance certification was simple to address.
"Presenting our insurance is not an issue,” he said.
"Each Showmens Guild member must be adequately insured as a condition of the membership. This is checked by our committee and presented when required.
"Showmens Guild representatives work closely with workplace health and safety to assist in carrying out audits on all equipment and training.
"This ensures customer safety to show-goers throughout Queensland.”