Parkes Showground pavilions to be demolished

BIG PLANS: Parkes Showground Trust president Christopher Cole said the demolition of five pavilions at the Parkes Showground will make way for a multipurpose building that he hopes will become a community asset.
BIG PLANS: Parkes Showground Trust president Christopher Cole said the demolition of five pavilions at the Parkes Showground will make way for a multipurpose building that he hopes will become a community asset.

The proposal to demolish a number of pavilions at the Parkes Showground is just one stage in an overall master plan for the facility.

The Parkes Showground Trust submitted a development application, tabled at Parkes Shire Council’s December 20 meeting, requesting to knock down the main exhibit pavilion, arts and craft pavilion, photography pavilion and the bird pavilion.

All are now 90 years old and past their use-by dates.

The commercial pavilion - which is no longer used for safety reasons and is too costly to repair - is included in the proposal.

The historical grandstand - that's listed as a heritage item in the Parkes Local Environment Plan - will not be demolished.

It's a project estimated to cost more than $1.5 million and will make way for a new multipurpose pavilion that Trust president Christopher Cole hopes will become an asset to the whole community.

“I think everyone is pretty excited we've got it approved,” he said.

“In the early days [Parkes Show Society life member] Richard Crisp was pushing for the showground to be redeveloped, he's been the driving force behind it for many years.

“The buildings have reached a point where they're extremely expensive to maintain and repair.

“It's taken a couple of years just getting the DA finalised, we had plans drawn up, had a heritage consultant come in and we had to get permission from the Department of Lands - so all of those processes take time.”

Mr Cole said the demolition is part of a bigger plan for the showground that's already underway.

A new toilet block has been constructed, the showground’s power supply upgraded and the camping area has been levelled into three tiers.

The five pavilions will be replaced by one clear span pavilion with no pillars, high enough for machinery and grand enough to host balls, conventions, sheep and cattle shows and even sporting events.

A kitchen and viewing verandahs will also be built, and the toilets and showers will have outdoor access.

“We're trying to make it a real multipurpose building,” Mr Cole said.

“And were looking at making it an asset to the showground as a whole.

“We're keeping the design similar so it relates back to what we've had in the past.”

While there is no demolition date as yet, Mr Cole said the Trust’s plan is to begin following this year’s Parkes Show in August.

“We need to get some money, we'll do it over two financial years to attract funding,” he said.

“Ninety per cent of the cost will be grants and business investments.”

In the meantime, the Trust has turned its eyes to developing a criteria for the demolition.

Mr Cole said they aim to make sure the demolition process will involve as much recycling as possible.

“It will help reduce demolition costs,” he said.

“Also the pavilions have been there for years, there’s some lovely timber in it - we should be trying to recycle as much as we can.”

Prior to the start of demolition, an archival recording of the existing pavilions will be undertaken.