Shock decision to close Showgrounds bar
Rafter support beams sag under the weight of Toodyay Showgrounds bar roof.
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
DRINKS at this year’s Toodyay Agricultural Show are likely to be served from a temporary tent because the historic Showgrounds bar has been declared too dangerous to use.
Roof supports are sagging, termites have eaten the floor (pictured left) and strong winds threaten to collapse the rotted timber-framed structure.
The dilapidated shire-owned terrace bar was due to be demolished after last year’s Show but was still standing last month.
When the Toodyay Agricultural Society asked if it could be used again this year, the shire’s insurers said it was too great risk.
Councillors voted 7-1 in a shock move last month to “deconstruct” the building only two months before this year’s October 7 event.Read more
They agreed to store the materials and liaise with the Toodyay Agricultural Society about what to do next year.
The shire has placed a padlock on the door and locked the society out of the building.
Cr Steve McCormick voted against the council decision, saying the bar could still be used this year and demolished afterwards.
He was required earlier to declare an “impartiality interest” in the debate because he is a member of the Toodyay Agricultural Society and Toodyay Cricket Club, which operates the Show bar (pictured right with [from left], Steele, John Lucas and Skye O’Brien) each year.
“As a consequence, there may be a perception that my impartiality on the matter may be affected,” he said, reading from a signed statement filed with the shire.
“I will therefore declare that I will consider the matter on its merits and vote accordingly.”
He questioned whether the shire had obtained a “properly credentialled” report on the bar’s condition.
The council was told that a “specialised company” was asked in May to examine structural defects.
It reported “rotted and termite-damaged uprights, tie-downs and rafter integrity, as well as bearer failure”.
The shire then contacted five builders, resulting in a $30,000 repair quote and a recommendation to demolish the building.
Society President Bruce Shenn emailed the shire on July 21 that there was not enough time to repair the bar before this year’s Show.
He told councillors that he believed the bar was safe to use this year but that a marquee could be used instead.
“It would, of course take away from the ambience of the area,” Mr Shenn said.
He told The Herald later that a temporary bar would be provided for this year’s event.
The shire said removing the Show bar would leave a concrete base for a marquee.