Car groups petitioning on Tahuna Park

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The shows must go on . . . Otago Community Hospice Charity Cruise and Car Show organiser Ken Schumacher (left) and Stateside Streeters Inc president Mike Lea, both of Dunedin, look over Tahuna Park – the land they are petitioning to keep open to car shows. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Car enthusiasts want the Dunedin City Council to do a U-turn and lift its car show ban in Tahuna Park.

Last month, council acting parks and recreation group manager Robert West told The Star car shows could no longer be held in the park, due to the impact the activity had on the turf and the ability to use it as a football venue.

Otago Community Hospice Charity Cruise and Car Show organiser Ken Schumacher said news of the ban had caused “disbelief” among car enthusiasts in Dunedin.

He had started a petition to ask the council to allow car shows in the park and had began collecting signatures.

Stateside Streeters Inc president Mike Lea said he had started a similar petition and was also collecting signatures.

If the council refused to lift the ban, he demanded “transparency” from the council, because the reason given by Mr West was nonsensical, he said.

For the past 30 years, Stateside Streeters had held the Great USA Day car show on council parks and had to pay a bond each time.

“Every year we have got our bond back – there has never been any issues with damage.”

The council needed a better excuse than the potential to damage the turf, Mr Lea said.

Rumours were circulating there were plans in the pipeline to redevelop the park, possibly to include an artificial turf, Mr Lea said.

Mr Schumacher said his car show had never damaged the turf or generated any complaints.

He questioned how the city could be held “to ransom” by a sporting code requiring sole use of the only park in Dunedin suitable for car shows.

Hurricane Rodders Inc president Wayne Nicol, of Dunedin, said members of his club participated in the car shows in the park and the activity had never caused any damage.

He questioned why the council was “picking on” a car show, which raised money for charities.

Consequently, his club members had started a petition and were collecting signatures to give to the council.

Conrodders Rod and Custom Car Club committee member Reuben Kinghorn, of Dunedin, said club members would sign the clubs’ petitions and had written a letter to the council supporting car shows staying in the park.

“Conrodders is 100% behind the USA Day and Hospice Cruise being at Tahuna Park.”

Mr Lea said he planned to give the petitions to the council by the end of the month.

A council spokeswoman said the rumour the park was to be redeveloped to include an artificial turf “is not correct”.