Christmas event on the brink

The Broken Hill City Council (BHCC) is holding an information session for regular hirers of the council’s outdoor areas. However, the South Village Association warns that these changes could jeopardise this year’s Christmas in the Park community celebration.

Santa may not visit Southside’s Patton Park this year for the annual Christmas in the Park event that’s been running since 2010 if BHCC’s new hire changes go ahead, says President of South Village Association (formerly known as Patton Village Association), Alison Couch.

South Village Association members met on Thursday night for their monthly meeting, which included a discussion about the future of Christmas in the Park to be held at Patton Park on Patton St.

“Last year, council’s booking fee for Christmas in the Park was $81 but with proposed changes, the same event with the same number of stalls and fun family activities is now almost $600,” Ms Couch told the Barrier Truth.

“The draft Fees and Charges which included the significant increases were put on public exhibition in May after applications for Council Community Assistance grants closed in April, therefore our committee was not able to forecast or apply for a Community Assistance Grant to ease the cost of the unforeseen and significant increases,” said Ms Couch.

“Almost four months after the amended Park Booking Application was active on council’s website, council are only now advising organisations of the changes.

“And it appears from the invitation to the October 17 session received from council, there is more than just significant fee increases but also changing requirements for applicants, suppliers, and stallholders,” she added.

Ms Couch says with plans well underway for Christmas 2023, the event is now in limbo.

“Our Patton Park booking has not yet been approved by council and we will only find out any new requirements just weeks out from the event, which is a similar experience to the 2022 event when council advised our committee of additional requirements a month from Christmas in the Park, so we came very close to cancelling this special event for families last year too.

“Council have not been hosting events in Patton Street Park; a major gap which has been filled by our committee, so we respectfully ask council for improved and timely communication to ensure our committee can plan and provide quality activation and events in South Broken Hill,” Ms Couch said.

A spokesperson from council told the Truth yesterday, “Council is more than happy to discuss any financial considerations around upcoming events. Council’s Community Assistants Grants program is also always available to help community groups offset event costs.”

BHCC’s information session will be held at the Civic Centre at 31 Chloride St at 5pm on Tuesday October 17. For more information, contact Rachel Merton on 8080 3321 or [email protected]

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