Iconic festival boosted ahead of Cook 250th
A FUNDING boost, with one eye on next year's 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's landing at Seventeen Seventy, was granted at Gladstone Regional Council's latest meeting.
Discovery Coast Tourism and Commerce Inc scored $40,000 from council to plan for the 2019 Captain Cook 1770 Festival.
The funding marked a significant boost in funds from previous major event grants handed to DCTC with this year's amount nearly tripling last year's.
DCTC president Amber Rodgers said the funds would go towards this year's theme of 'Surf, Soul and Sound' but would also help position DCTC so it could leverage off the event to make next year's the best it could be.
"The festival in 2020 is definitely on our radar," Ms Rodgers said.
"We've had a working group within the DCTC volunteer team since 2015 that's been thinking about May 2020 and working on how, as an entire Gladstone Region, we can make sure that it's an opportunity that we execute, take advantage of and play to the region's strengths.
"We're getting in some experts to assist us as well. Being a previously volunteer-run event it's good to up the ante on the skillset and take it that step further.
"This $40,000 announcement is fantastic and we thank Gladstone Regional Council. Now that we have that funding we can lock in new elements of the program.
"This (2019) event will be bigger and better but of course we are already working on making May 2020 an even bigger event for the entire community to benefit."
Mayor Matt Burnett said "it made sense to increase the funding to the 1770 Festival this year in the lead up to Cook 250".
"We've already allocated some money to them a couple of years ago to start their planning because it's going to be a massive event," Cr Burnett said.
Planning for a 250th anniversary legacy project is also in the pipeline for DCTC, although Cr Burnett remained cautious as it could end up costing council money in the long run.
"I have no doubt before May next year there'll be funding from the Federal Government and potentially the State Government for 1770," he said.
"The way I see it the event is the high priority and if there can be some legacy items that don't have ongoing costs to the ratepayers it's a win-win.
"But if you're going to build something that requires someone to man it with ongoing maintenance and operational costs then it's the gift that keeps taking.
"We've got to be careful - you don't want to take funds they're dishing out if it's going to cost you operationally in the future."