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How Ipswich's oldest society may deliver $80m project

A CITY-BUILDING infrastructure project is being progressed not by governments, but a forward-thinking, 153-year old association.

Perched high on the hill, Ipswich Show Society is working through an $11 million process to build the Ipswich Convention and Exhibition Centre.

They have been progressing the project since Pauline Hanson chased and delivered $8.9 million in funding in 2017.

Ipswich Showgrounds vice-president Darren Zanow said the project would be one of the city's biggest.

"It could be in the vicinity of $80million, we just don't know yet," he said.

"It will be a big project for Ipswich and a project Ipswich needs."

Mr Zanow encouraged people to attend this year's show in six weeks and take a look at the showgrounds before it was redeveloped.

"We're going to transform this place into a place and a project people of Ipswich can be proud of," he said.

Mr Zanow said the centre would be up to 11,00sqm large with large halls and number of different-sized meeting rooms and large catering facilities.

"It will be a centre that will have inside areas that will spill out on to large lawns and amphitheatre areas," he said.

Mr Zanow held a collaborative stakeholder meeting on Thursday and the size of the centre was discussed, but not set in concrete.

He said the society had $11million; enough cash to get the project shovel-ready.

"It also pays for a business case and puts together all of the business planning so we understand how the centre will commercially work," he said.

"We don't want a big white elephant."

He said the Ipswich Show Society was a not-for-profit organisation looking at the future.

"All we want to do is provide the best facilities we possibly can," he said.



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