The Dapto Dogs may be an important and iconic part of the town's history, but can't continue to run "on the basis of nostalgia alone" according to local politicians.
Seemingly baffled by the public debacle between Greyhound Racing NSW and the Dapto Dapto Agricultural & Horticultural Society which has played out over the past two days, local politicians at all levels of government said they supported the races.
However, they all warned that the wider Dapto community must be considered as negotiations continue.
Whitlam MP Stephen Jones, who fought to help save greyhound racing when it was briefly banned by former Premier Mike Baird amid animal cruelty concerns in 2016, said he hoped to see the races continue.
"This is an international institution, and I'll be very said to see it go, but you can't sustain an enterprise on the basis of nostalgia alone," he said. "It's got to be a going concern and that requires an agreement between the agricultural society and greyhounds NSW and they haven't been able to land that."
"The nub of it is that the land is owned by the agriculture and horticultural society."
He said the site was already used by a multitude of community groups, including the poultry club, night markets, flea markets and football clubs in winter.
"On any given weekend through winter and summer there are lots of community groups trying to get access to a piece of land to play sport - it's not just greyhounds bidding for access to this site," he said.
"Greyhound Racing NSW don't own it, so they might instead of acting like the big bullies be a little bit more contrite. because they really haven't got the whip hand."
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the society should be congratulated for being proactive and willing to ask questions about what the future of the showground should be.
"That's not to say the dogs can't race there, but there's another 6.5 days that have to be considered and which require management," he said.
"They are managing this site in the middle of one of the fastest-growing areas in our community, and if the dogs aren't going to be viable then that's something they need to consider. They can't be completely beholden to dog racing."
Likewise, Shellharbour MP Anna Watson said she believed the dogs were an important part of the showground, but only under the right conditions.
"There have been negotiations going on for 12 months about racing at this track," she said.
"Greyhound Racing NSW said to the Dapto Dogs, who own this land, that this was a non-negotiable discussion now and these were the terms of those discussions, I'm told there was a take it or leave it negotiation - and the board decided they would leave it, because they can't have Saturday night racing because they have other things on Saturday night," she said.
"The Ag society are the land owners and GRNSW are the tenants, at the end of the day. I hope there is some room for proper negotiations, maybe with an independent mediator, to come to a position that everyone can live with."
The NSW Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson also weighed in.
"It is clear discussions between GRNSW and DPAS have broken down, however it is the Dapto community that will be impacted the most if the organisations cannot reach an agreement," he said.