EDITORIAL: Council slow to move

“THERE will be a Lilac City Festival in 2014, even if Council has to do it ourselves.”
Nanjing Night Net

Mayor Geoff Kettle said that to the Goulburn Post last October after Council withdrew its in-kind support for the event after concerns about the organising committee’s financial affairs.

More than nine months on, absolutely nothing has been done regarding planning for this year’s October long weekend celebrations.

This is despite councillors at that October 22 meeting resolving (moved by Cr Alfie Walker and seconded by Bob Kirk) to “call for Expressions of Interest from community organisations to run a spring festival on the October long weekend.”

Councillors also endorsed the statement: “A renewal and injection of community enthusiasm for a community based spring festival is needed.”

Well, what happened to Council’s enthusiasm?

There has been no call for expressions of interest and no attempt by staff, or councillors, to consult with the community on how to continue celebrating the October long weekend in Goulburn, if at all.

The lapse is embarrassing. Forgetfulness is not an excuse.

Cr Sam Rowland apparently made inquiries a few months ago but wasn’t given a sufficient response.

The very councillors and senior staff who have accused the Lilac Festival Committee of disorganisation are guilty of it themselves.

Mayor Kettle last year pledged the show will go on, whether the committee was involved or not.

And if the committee was to have a key role, it would be a massive about-face for Council.

Let’s remember the festival, costing ratepayers more than $20,000 a year in in-kind support, ran at a loss for three of the past four years.

Its committee was unable to produce up to date financial reports at the request of councillors.

It might be noble of Cr Kettle to uphold his pledge, but hastily putting together another hackneyed festival modelled on previous years is a retrograde step.

“We will advertise expressions of interest in due course although I’d like to see the Lilac Committee regather, open their doors and resubmit some ideas,” Cr Kettle told us last October.

But the decision to ‘move on’ was made last year.

The least Council can do now is to ensure that happens, even if it means organising a scaled-down version of the event – or giving this year a miss completely.

“There needs to be more people involved, it’s the same thing every year,” last year’s ‘queen’ Megan Baseley said of the committee and festival.

Indeed, Humphrey B Bear has had his day.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.