Former Armidale Showground Trust chairman Rob Taber hits back at criticism from administrator

A DEBATE over the viability of the Armidale Showground was heating-up this week as former chairman of the Armidale Showground Trust, Rob Taber refuted comments that the condition of the showground had been in decline.

The backlash comes after the Armidale Showground Reserve Trust administrator, Rodney O’Brien accused the former trust of having “a bit of a chequered history”.

“It’s been in and out of administration for many years going backwards [the showgrounds].

“For whatever reason, trusts weren’t able to succeed and I guess because of that a lack of user groups coming in, there was a snowball effect [on up-keep].”

DISAPPOINTED: Former showground trust chairman Rob Taber.

DISAPPOINTED: Former showground trust chairman Rob Taber.

But that was not the case, according to Mr Taber who said the showground has been constantly improving for the last 15 years.

“Recognise the effort a lot of people who have donated their time, equipment and money to get that showground up to what it is today.

“The showground trust was disbanded only because the trust management couldn’t agree, it was never about anything else,” Mr Taber said.

Nevertheless, a new trust is now being appointed as the facility receives a $57,000 grant.

Mr O’Brien said the money will go partly towards a better road which has been a deterrent for many caravanners and campers.

“Poor drainage undermined the foundations of one of the showground’s heritage-listed stands and forced its closure for the foreseeable future,” he said.

A problem that had already been addressed according to Mr Taber.

“We had a major problem with the water supply at the showground so we moved to replace all the pipes.

“All this was underground so people didn’t see this was done,” Mr Taber said.

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said the grant was designed for continuing improvements to ensure “first rate” facilities.

First rate facilities with a first rate trust to “ensure this heritage is not abandoned to the point of collapse”, according to Mr O’Brien.

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