THE organiser of the Super Southern Swap Meet claims the Ballarat City Council forced him to abandon the annual event due to an unrealistic lease agreement.Trevor Wolstenholme, who had been the head of the swap meet for 22 years, said new conditions under the lease put forward by council were impossible and left him with no option but to abandon the event.A 20 per cent rent increase for February’s event and an additional clause in the future lease meant Mr Wolstenholme was unable to meet council’s proposed agreement.He said council tried to ensure he was no longer able to hold the event at the airport, or any other site in Ballarat.“Council was looking to move us along and they’ve done that. The new arrangement was unworkable for me,” Mr Wolstenholme said.The Super Southern Swap Meet was the largest of its kind in Australia, drawing 30,000 people every year and contributing an estimated $10 million into Ballarat’s economy annually.But Mr Wolstenholme says there is no chance of him holding the event again.He indicated he would not try and negotiate the situation with council, as previous communication had been impossible.“There would be no point. I have never met one council person in relation to the event. Not the mayor or CEO, nobody,” he said.Mr Wolstenholme said he would have happily considered relocating the event, but was left with no option but to forego it completely.“I could have bashed my head against the wall and we couldn’t have moved site,” he said.Although council leases the Ballarat Airport site for the swap meet, considered one of the city’s largest annual events, Mr Wolstenholme said council never consulted with him at any stage, aside from contract negotiations.“There was no negotiation ever, before or after the event,” he said.City of Ballarat chief executive officer Anthony Schinck said there would have to be slight alterations to the swap meet and surrounding organisations due to the proposed Western Link Road, which would cut across the swap meet land.He said the rent for the land was $5000 plus GST each year.“We thought the relationship was very positive,’’ Mr Schinck said. We need to sit down with him (Mr Wolstenholme) and work this out.” “Council has been inundated with offers from groups that want to take over.”Mr Wolstenholme thanked staff members, businesses and stall holders that were involved with the swap meet over the last 22 years.