Councillors unite to defend rodeo
AHEAD of next week's Rodeo there could be a man versus beast challenge of a different kind as some councillors prepare to battle bureaucracy to save Warwick's event of the year some hard-earned cash.
The Warwick Show and Rodeo Society wrote to council to ask for use of the saleyards holding paddocks in the run-up to the big event, something organisers say they've done in previous years at no cost.
Now, the society won't know until next Wednesday whether it will have to cough up more than $1000 to store campdraft cattle for a few days, despite the fact it needs the facility this weekend.
At yesterday's Community Services committee meeting, officers recommended council refuse the request as it already provided substantial support to the event.
However, Councillor Ross Bartley was first in the saddle to try and rope in some common sense and said use of the saleyards came at no cost to council so organisers should be able to use it for free.
Cr Jo McNally also took the bull by the horns in saying she would not support the recommendation.
“Given the fact Warwick is the Rose and Rodeo City, we should be supporting this event completely,” she said.
“The campdraft has grown substantially and they have no room at the showgrounds.”
Cr Mally McMurtrie agreed.
“If there's no cost and they leave them as they found them, I have no worry with that,” she said.
The initial request was to have around 300 head of cattle for the campdrafting events in the holding paddocks from October 23 to 25 and that same amount from October 28 to 31.
According to officers this would cost $1200.
With an already-tight grants budget drawn in for this financial year, Director of Community Services Tony Minuti said if council decided to waive the fees, it would still have to go through the books and come out of the total donations pool.
Cr Denise Ingram was concerned about how much it took out of the budget and it would wave the red flag to other groups seeking assistance.
The Daily News spoke to Show and Rodeo Society president Neville Fanning after the meeting who expressed his disappointment at the lack of support.
He said with recent bad weather, it would probably only be around 150 cattle they would bring to the holding paddocks now and only for two days.
Mr Fanning confirmed the rodeo had used the paddocks at no cost in previous years.
“It wouldn't cost the council anything,” he said.
“We are all volunteers and this is just another cost that we don't have enough in our budget for.”
Councillors said they wanted to defer the decision until next week's general meeting – the third day of Rodeo Week – to establish whether or not the paddocks were given in the past.
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