A legal challenge that threatened to derail one of Broome’s calendar social events on famous Cable Beach has been averted with a judge ruling it can go ahead.
Businesswoman and director of Kimberley-based Pinctada Hotels and Resorts, Marilynne Paspaley, was given the all clear to stage Broome Beach Polo next year following a decision from NSW Supreme Court Justice Patricia Bergin last Monday.
Ms Paspaley and her former business partner Janek Gazecki jointly held the inaugural shindig in 2010 and 2011 but it was cancelled at the last minute this year when a dispute erupted between the two over its format, financial management and budget.
The Shire of Broome in October awarded it to Ms Paspaley after both parties made separate applications to stage it on the same weekend in May next year.
Mr Gazecki disputed the decision and launched court action, which prevented Ms Paspaley from promoting or selling holiday packages relating to the event until a ruling was made.
Justice Bergin dismissed his application with costs.
Mr Gazecki conceded his bid had failed but said he has now launched a fresh challenge with the State Administrative Tribunal challenging why the council approved the application from Ms Paspaley’s company Gazmedia Temp instead of his operation Polo Enterprises Australia.
He said PEA was still pursuing a damages claim in the NSW Supreme Court against Pinctada Hotels and Resorts.
Ms Paspaley – once known as the WA Pearl Princess with a luxurious resort at Cable Beach – said the court decision confirmed Polo Enterprises Australia did not have the exclusive right to stage the event in Broome or the Kimberley.
She was pleased with the outcome and outlined her plans to transform and extend the event over two days.
“It will begin to resemble those held overseas in places like Miami in the USA and Poole in the UK,” she said.
“My intention is to create a world-class sporting event held over a number of days that will integrate into the community with a festival atmosphere.”
Ms Paspaley said part of the plan was the introduction of a professional team from India and an Australia versus India match, organised through her association with the Swan Valley Polo Club.
Another drawcard billed as the Kimberley Challenge will see stockmen introduced to the sport.
“This will see the training of stockmen, particularly indigenous horse riders, by professional polo players prior to the event, with a match played in the polo arena featuring these new recruits alongside professional players,” she said.
Ms Paspaley said Broome was not immune to a general downturn in tourism in regional WA but believes the revamped schedule would bolster visitation and business.