1 July, 2022

Redevelopment plan for Caboolture Showgrounds

AFTER a bumper 2022 Caboolture Show, the historic Caboolture Showgrounds is set to undergo a major redevelopment, with plans including a 5,000 seat auditorium and convention centre.

After hosting a successful show in 2022, the Caboolture Show Society has revealed its proposed 10-year plan, including a major redevelopment of the showgrounds to keep up with increasing demands on its facilities.
After hosting a successful show in 2022, the Caboolture Show Society has revealed its proposed 10-year plan, including a major redevelopment of the showgrounds to keep up with increasing demands on its facilities.

Marcus Shimbel, CEO of the Caboolture Show Society, said a new 10-year plan was now complete, and was adopted by the Society’s board, ready for implementation.

“We are about to renew the lease, and we have developed the 10-year plan to guide us into the future, it is an exciting time for the Show Society and the Showgrounds,” Mr Shimbel said.

“The plan still has to be approved by the Moreton Bay Regional Council, but we are working with the council on the approval process.”

While the plan offers plenty of detail for the future of the showgrounds, Mr Shimbel said it is also offers flexibility to account for changing circumstances.

“Covid-19 was a great example of the need for flexibility, it brought in significant changes and challenges to how we operate, I think we have come out the other side in good order, but it is a good reminder for the need to be adaptable in our future planning.”

While onsite camping is currently the biggest income stream for the showgrounds, Mr Shimbel said that is rapidly changing as more events are using the facilities.

“We have got a busy calendar for the rest of this year, and we are getting more bookings all the time, people are realising we offer a strong value proposition, and we are looking to capitalise on that position.

“We are already working with local businesses to utilise the showgrounds to support business, for example we have a caravan retailer who uses the grounds to hand over new caravans when they are delivered, but he also does driver training, so they are comfortable towing their new van, and as part of that, they stay for two nights while there are learning.”

Mr Shimbel said one of the biggest challenges is the age of some of the current buildings, and the cost of trying to maintain and update them to ensure they remain viable in the future.

“We have buildings of varying ages and types, and we fully acknowledge the history of the existing buildings, but they are not viable in the current era, there are issues of too much work is needed, the cost of upkeep, and upgrades for disability access, plus heating and cooling, they are a real challenge.

“We would love to get more community groups in, but the buildings are not suitable for those uses in their current state.”

Instead, Mr Shimbel said the plan includes a major redevelopment that will replace the exisiting buildings with a new building, that will include references to the historic facilities.

“It is a five stage project, over the course of 10 years, we are looking at adding more revenue streams, and also upgrading the onsite camping and accommodation facilities.

“We are adding more powered sites, some on-site cabins, and a new camp kitchen, to give us more options to cater for a broader clientele.”

The cornerstone of the plan is the construction of a 5,000 seat auditorium and ‘mini’ convention centre, to make the area more attractive for shows, functions and events.

“We would be able to host trade shows, community groups, it would be configured so that multiple events can be held at the same time, or we can have a single large event using the whole space.

“It is very important to preserve the look and feel of the current show facilities in any redevelopment, it must be sympathetic to the historic nature of the showgrounds.

While the construction of the new convention centre would be a longer term project, Mr Shimbel said the weekend markets would continue to operate, and would eventually move indoors, making them an all-weather event.

“As the markets continue to grow in popularity they are stretching our current infrastructure to capacity, there is still some room for growth, but a new, purpose-built facility would future proof the showgrounds.”

The addition of the convention centre would also be a boost for the community, with Mr Shimbel keen to partner with training organisations to create employment and training opportunities.

“We would like to partner with RTOs (registered training organisations) to produce probably 18 full-time and 30 casual positions, and 80% of those jobs would be expected to be training positions, for example apprentice chefs and facilities management trainees.

“We already have approval to hire two trainees in grounds maintenance, as a pilot program.” 

Mr Shimbel said the flexible design of the proposed convention centre allows for it to be used in civil emergencies, as an evacuation centre, or even as a community vaccination hub if needed.

“Recent events have shown a need for a facility that can be quickly repurposed for crisis accommodation or even to create vaccination hubs to benefit the whole of the region.”

Work on the redevelopment would depend on the acceptance of the new plan by Moreton Bay Regional Council, with the majority of the work expected to be funded by grants from State and local governments.

“This a major redesign and redevelopment of the showgrounds, we are phasing it over 10 years, to allow us to access suitable funding, especially grants, we want it to be an orderly upgrade, so we can continue to function as we improve the facilities to meet the needs and wants of our community.”


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