No more car shows at Tahuna Park

Call to reconsider . . . Otago Community Hospice Charity Cruise and Car Show organiser Ken Schumacher (left) and Stateside Streeters president Mike Lea, both of Dunedin, stand their ground in Tahuna Park on Tuesday. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Car shows have been forced out of Tahuna Park and organisers are asking the Dunedin City Council to rethink its decision.

Council acting parks and recreation group manager Robert West said car shows could no longer be held in the park.

“Tahuna Park’s primary purpose is as a sportsground, including being used for premier football fixtures,” Mr West said.

“We have stopped access for car shows because of the impact that activity has on the turf and the ability to use it as a football venue.”

The grandstand in the park had a new roof and the council wanted to “lift the ground’s profile and see it used more as a sports venue”, he said.

Stateside Streeters president Mike Lea said the park was used to display more than 200 vehicles in the club’s Great USA Day on Saturday.

After the fleet departed on Saturday, no-one would be able to tell the park had been used to host a car show.

Last call . . . Janet Bridger and her grandson Kingston Paterson (6), of Dunedin, inspect a 1972 Dodge Challenger at the Great USA Day car show in Tahuna Park. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

The club had been holding its show in the park for about 20 years, he said.

Now the club was forced to search for a new place to hold its annual show.

“The concern is now we don’t have anywhere to hold it.”

The council should allow the show to continue in the park because it was a sports event and raised money for charity, he said.

The club had rejected the council’s offer to hold the show in Kensington Oval, away from the sportsgrounds.

“You’d get about 50 vehicles in,” Mr Lea said.

Otago Community Hospice Charity Cruise and Car Show organiser Ken Schumacher said eight annual shows had been held in Tahuna Park to raise money for the hospice.

About 250 cars entered the latest show last November.

The council had also pitched the Oval to him as an alternative, but it was impractical, as it was a “boggy” area and the vehicles would make a mess.

He was “disappointed” the council would not allow them to stay at the park.

He had applied to hold the next show in Forsyth Barr Stadium but would prefer to use the park.

“I want the council to rethink its decision.”

He preferred the park to the stadium, he said.

The park was “ideal”, as it was sandy, dry, and more space was available.

Vehicles would not be allowed on the stadium turf and would need to be packed in like “sardines” in the concrete area in the end of the stadium.

Football South chief executive Chris Wright said the park was “the most used facility in the city” by Football South clubs.

“It is our only all-year-round ground we can utilise, so it gets heavy usage.”

As it was used in winter and summer, it was difficult to find time to renovate the ground and it was an “uphill battle” to keep grounds in top condition.

“We want it to be the best it can be.”