Clash no more

Shire urges cham­bers to take care with event tim­ing

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS - By James Ben­nett

Berri­gan Shire Coun­cil has called on shire com­mu­ni­ties to work with coun­cil when or­gan­is­ing lo­cal events.

The ap­peal was in­sti­gated from Aus­tralia Day, where cel­e­bra­tions in Tocumwal clashed with of­fi­cial shire cel­e­bra­tions held in Ba­rooga.

In a re­port tabled at coun­cil’s re­cent cor­po­rate work­shop, gen­eral man­ager Rowan Perkins said there had been a num­ber of com­plaints about the clash from lo­cal res­i­dents, com­mu­nity groups and coun­cil­lors.

He said while coun­cil sup­ported Tocumwal Cham­ber of Com­merce’s rea­sons for host­ing an event in the town, coun­cil would pre­fer to have co-op­er­a­tion and for or­gan­is­ers to ‘‘leave space for our event’’.

Ba­rooga based coun­cil­lor John Bruce agreed at coun­cil’s re­cent meet­ing, say­ing it was good for tourism to have a num­ber of events on in the shire, but not at the ex­pense of an­other.

‘‘It’s not the end of the world, but some peo­ple ex­pressed their anger to me.

‘‘I don’t think any­body thinks there’s any­thing wrong with Tocumwal host­ing an Aus­tralia Day event, in fact I think it’s won­der­ful as it’s good for tourism, how­ever what I’m frus­trated with is why they started at the same time (as the shire cel­e­bra­tions).

‘‘Tocumwal will be the cen­tre of at­ten­tion for the next two years (as host of the shire cel­e­bra­tions), and that will be great.

‘‘What I’m now con­cerned about is that it will clash with Finley, that’s why we’ve made this de­ci­sion to en­sure they don’t clash.’’

Tocumwal Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Ser­gio Rede­galli ex­plained the clash was not de­lib­er­ate.

He said a last minute change to the Tocumwal event’s tim­ing was re­quired for the safety of at­ten­dees, given ex­treme heat con­di­tions ex­pected on Aus­tralia Day.

‘‘Orig­i­nally the time was meant to be 10am un­til 2pm, how­ever a de­ci­sion was made due to the heat to host it ear­lier,’’ he said.

‘‘It was never in­tended as an in­sult to any­one or the (shire) cer­e­mony and per­son­ally, I was dis­ap­pointed I couldn’t make the of­fi­cial cer­e­mony in Ba­rooga.

‘‘For years other mem­bers of Tocumwal Cham­ber have been asked why doesn’t some­thing hap­pen (in Tocumwal on Aus­tralia Day).

‘‘We achieved what we wanted to achieve, and that was at­tract­ing kids and tourists to our event.

‘‘Many busi­ness own­ers popped over for half and hour be­fore open­ing their stores, some­thing they wouldn’t be able to do in pre­vi­ous years.’’

Mr Rede­galli said given the suc­cess on Aus­tralia Day cham­ber will con­tinue to host a cel­e­bra­tion even when it does not host the of­fi­cial shire cel­e­bra­tions.

He said the cham­ber would make ev­ery ef­fort not to clash with other events in the fu­ture.

‘‘Like it or not Tocumwal will al­ways have an Aus­tralia Day event, but the hours will be worked on,’’ he said.

‘‘If it means next year we have some­thing sep­a­rate for the kids and tourism then we will.

‘‘Tocumwal Cham­ber was at the fore­front with its nom­i­na­tions this year and we will al­ways con­tinue to sup­port the (shire) cer­e­mony.’’

Coun­cil has re­solved to write to all shire cham­ber groups and re­quest their events do not clash with the of­fi­cial Aus­tralia Day Awards cer­e­mony.

Berri­gan Shire’s of­fi­cial Aus­tralia Day cer­e­mony ro­tates between the shire’s four towns ev­ery two years, with Tocumwal sched­uled to host in 2019 and 2020. Finley will then host the cel­e­bra­tions in 2021 and 2022.

The only other es­tab­lished event on Aus­tralia Day in the shire is the Berri­gan Coun­try Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion an­nual break­fast, which starts at 7am and is usu­ally fin­ished be­fore the shire cer­e­mony be­gins.

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