Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community Fair 2024 cancelled over venue concerns

Headshot of Tegan Guthrie
Tegan GuthrieKalgoorlie Miner
City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder councillors on Monday night endorsed the Goldfields Oasis Playing Fields as an alternative venue for this year’s Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community Fair.
Camera IconCity of Kalgoorlie-Boulder councillors on Monday night endorsed the Goldfields Oasis Playing Fields as an alternative venue for this year’s Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community Fair. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner

There will be no Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community Fair this year as organisers say it would be “impossible” to host the event at Oasis Playing Fields after they lost their fight to keep it at Cruickshank Sporting Arena.

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder councillors voted 7-1 on Monday night in support of providing $70,000 in sponsorship to the fair society to relocate next month’s event from the decommissioned Cruickshank arena — which hosted the fair for 68 years — to the Goldfields Oasis Playing Fields.

A council report said Cruickshank oval was no longer usable because of a lack of irrigation since the water was switched off a year ago and significant issues with the bitumen hardstand and roads.

It said the $70,000 contribution from the city was $35,000 more than last year’s funding and would “satisfy” any additional temporary infrastructure cost requirements for fencing, generators and marquee hire at the new location.

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However, fair society president Sue Davey said on Tuesday the additional sponsorship was barely enough to cover the cost of security alone, which would be needed to keep fairgoers and sideshow alley ride operators safe.

The fair was also booked for March 23 and 24, which would see it take place at the Oasis grounds at the same time as two sporting events.

“There is not enough security in town to cover the eight to 10 guards we would need, so we would have to fly them up and that alone is a huge cost,” Ms Davey said.

“The sideshow alley guys are up here for a week for this event and there’s no toilets and no showers for them.

“Even if the council gave us $300,000 we wouldn’t be able to hold it at the Oasis on that weekend as there are two sporting events already on and the noise clash would disrupt everyone.”

Despite having to cancel this year’s fair, Ms Davey assured the community she would continue to fight to have the fair back at Cruickshank next year.

“It’s upsetting because the committee has worked their butts off for 12 months to make this happen and all the ride providers for sideshow alley have had this in their calendar,” she said.

“I will continue to fight for the fair to stay at Cruickshank for next year and I will not back down.

“It is what is best for the community, so I will always fight for that.”

The council voted last month to investigate the cost of a potential freehold acquisition by the council of Cruickshank, along with alternative potential approved uses for the site and a full financial analysis of potential options.

Ms Davey said she was hopeful a refurbishment would be on the cards for Cruickshank to ensure the fair could continue in its traditional home.

The oval viewed from the GWN Golden Mile Paceway at Cruickshank Sporting Arena pictured on December 11, 2023.
Camera IconThe Cruickshank Sporting Arena pictured on December 11, 2023. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner

Mayor Glenn Wilson told the Kalgoorlie Miner on Tuesday he and deputy mayor Kirsty Dellar had recently met the fair society and would continue to do so moving forward.

At Monday night’s council meeting, Goldfields Touch Association life member Brendon Wilson raised concerns over the relocation of the fair as it would see the event take place the same weekend as the organisation’s grand finals.

His concerns focused on the limited parking available in the area, as well as the impact having a community fair next door might have on the club’s liquor licensing.

Cr Wayne Johnson — the only councillor to vote against the motion to sponsor the event at Oasis — also shared those concerns and raised other issues such as a lack of shade, seating, power, toilets and showers for the fair.

He also pointed out when the Moscow Circus was set up at the Oasis police were called six times because of vandalism, assaults, youths using slingshots to damage vehicles and more.

“When it comes to safety, (the Oasis) is not fit for purpose for the fair,” Cr Johnson said.

Cr Nardia Turner moved that the city provide sponsorship, saying if it did not do so, it would mean there would be no fair at all.

“I am hoping that they (sporting groups and the fair) can perhaps co-exist,” she said.

“I’m really hoping the horse hasn’t already bolted here.

“We can only deal with the cards we were dealt and the cards were dealt as Cruickshank has been decommissioned and as a councillor I can’t recommission that oval in time for the fair to be held.

“I feel that if we don’t support this motion, we’re putting the final nail in the coffin and I’m not prepared as a councillor to do that as it is an event valued by so many in our community.”

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