Festival's future at crossroads

By KRYSTEN BOOTHbooth@gladstoneobserver.com.au

THE 2005 Gladstone Harbour Festival may have been the last. That was the feeling of Festival Committee chairman Dave Burns yesterday, who said a meeting would be held early next week to decide if the committee would be wound up.

Mr Burns yesterday launched a tirade on Gladstone City Council after support for the festival was not forthcoming at Wednesday's council meeting.

The council asked for a report to be prepared looking at a number of options including a loan arrangement after Gladstone Festivals and Events manager Judy Whicker asked for $60,000 to help cover a $70,000 loss at this year's festival.

A number of councillors were opposed to the request.

Mr Burns said an extraordinary meeting would be held early next week to decide if the committee would be wound up.

If such a decision was made, other events such as the Seafood Festival would also be cancelled.

Mr Burns said it was not fair a small number of residents were forced to wear the responsibility of keeping the festival afloat.

He said the council should have the decency to offer more help to the embattled festival.

"We've reached the end of our tether,'' Mr Burns said.

"It's not as though we go every year cap-in-hand asking for money.

"It's time council got their priorities right.''

He said any council contribution would be an investment in the city.

"This is a one-off,'' he said.

"It's not fair to have the volunteers working their asses off to run a festival and then expect them to go and find another $60,000.''

Mayor Peter Corones said the council was working as quickly as possible to help with a solution.

Cr Corones said the request for $60,000 had been received after the council's meeting agenda had been set.

He said the council was addressing the issues as quickly as possible.



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