Happy Tails Hedland animal shelter has secured a two-year lease on the old rodeo grounds along Great Northern Highway with hopes to house rescued livestock and poultry. It comes as the previous lessee, “Rodeo Frank” Edwards, did not renew his application for the land in June. The new facility would house equines and rescued animals and offer riding lessons. There are also plans to stimulate a small agricultural farm and introduce an Indigenous outreach program. As part of the lease, a caretakers facility will be built for volunteers to care for equines and rescued animals. Mr Edwards held the inaugural Port Hedland ride in 2015 after years of trying to get the event up and running. In 2016, councillors extended the lease of Mr Edwards’ rodeo, but an endorsed amendment to the initial 21-year arrangement by former councillor Lincoln Tavo meant Mr Edwards was subject to a five-year lease with extension options every five years. His ailing health prevented him from running a major event for the last seven years. Mr Edwards said he was concerned by the speed of the tender process and was upset his rodeo was not considered. Mayor Peter Carter said HTH was the only application received by the town and the process was in accordance with local government policy. “The decision was processed normally and no decision was fast tracked,” he said. “When the lease came to an end we gave Mr Edwards the opportunity to go to tender but he didn't complete the process. “The lease was up and it had to go to tender. We were in communication with Mr Edwards throughout the period,” said Mr Carter. He said the lease changes meant rodeos would not be hosted at the grounds for the foreseeable future.