IT was all a bit surreal at the Riviera International Conference Centre. The Herald Express was out that day with one of its main stories focusing on Torbay mayor Gordon Oliver's plans to cut the budget of the main body driving and leading the resort's main industry — tourism.
His move to reduce Torbay Council's cash support for the English Riviera Conference Centre to £250,000 next year and nothing the year after has had the tongues-a-wagging.
Mr Oliver took to the podium at the RICC to deliver his latest mayoral forum.
In the room immediately next door, the annual Torbay In Bloom awards were being staged.
There were plenty of seats empty at the forum and not a huge number of Tory councillors present.
Some of them were in the room next door as the Bay's best bloomers were called up to the stage to receive their awards by host Dave Thomas, Torbay's deputy mayor.
The In Bloom councillors were talking of a clash of diaries and being there to support their local residents.
That may have been the case but you also couldn't help but think that they were glad to have the opportunity to keep their heads down while their master faced a grilling next door.
A grilling he got, although it could have been a lot worse. He was quizzed during the question-and-answer session at the end of the forum about his ERTC plans.
It all became a little frenzied at the end when one of those asking a question was, evidently, told in no uncertain terms to sit down by the mayor.
How he did that filtered back into the In Bloom room just yards away when a whisper went out: "He has had to use the gavel!"
It could only happen in Torbay, but I fear the mayor may have to use more than a gavel to control the growing opposition to his plans.
Setting aside questions being raised over a potential conflict of interests because of his business dealings in the holiday sector and his links with the Torbay Tourism Association where his partner Linda Hill is the boss, it is becoming clear that Mayor Oliver is in a somewhat isolated position with his proposals.
The ERTC is concerned and that is putting it mildly, the holiday industry is up in arms, the business fraternity is worried, some of his closest allies have their doubts and local MPs are not impressed.
Torbay MP Adrian Sanders revealed he and Brixham MP Sarah Wollaston have met ERTC chief executive Carolyn Custerson and chairman Chris Hart.
If the ERTC were to fold, it would have far-reaching implications when it comes to influencing the government and obtaining access to funding from Whitehall.
The government's current tourism policy sees destination management organisations as the body to deliver tourism policies in their particular area.
DMOs are private/public partnerships with the ERTC recognised as the DMO for the English Riviera.
It is a member of England's Destination Management Forum — one of just 45 in the UK. This forum influences government policy.
The ERTC is also a partner of VisitEngland, the national tourist board.
You can see just how well placed it is to look after Torbay's interests and make sure a £400million industry gets as much support as it can.
MP Mr Sanders said: "If we were to lose that status, we would lose access to government funding.
"It does not make financial sense."
He added: "The industry is concerned. There are partners of the industry who have made contact with me that are concerned.
"It has united the tourism industry against the mayor's plans."
He says Mr Oliver is on 'dangerous' ground in more ways than one.
Mr Sanders said: "Politically, he is on very dangerous ground. Politically, I do not see any councillor in favour.
"It would be nice for them to come out on the public record but none are doing that.
"He does not seem to have the confidence of the Tory party.
"He does not have the confidence of the industry. Members of the public are asking questions.
"I do not think Gordon is incapable. He is just wrong."
The row is bound to put the spotlight back on the RICC and the contrast between its support from the mayor, its council subsidy and what it contributes to the Bay's economy when compared to the ERTC and the holiday industry in general.
It is something Gill Butterworth, of the Torquay-based Holiday Homes and Cottages business, picks up on when she says: "Has he (the mayor) made any announcement regarding budget cuts to the English Riviera Centre?
"Perhaps it is time we requested, under the Freedom of Information Act, that the accounts of the Riviera centre be published for all Torbay council taxpayers to see.
"I am sure we would all like to know how the enormous annual subsidy to that particular white elephant is justified."
She adds: "I do feel that his desire to cut the funding to the ERTC is shocking and brings into focus questions about other spending by the council.
"While I am sure we all appreciate there is less money in the pot, surely what we all want is to see that money spent wisely."
Shame, perhaps, that the RICC has been brought into this but it was inevitable — and I fear it's just the beginning.