JUST before Christmas in 2017 I proudly marched down Brisbane Street with my daughter by my side leading the Queensland Times decorated truck in the annual parade.
Thousands had lined the street for the event and I later wrote an editorial speaking about the value of these big fun celebrations.
That same year I went along to the mayor’s carols at the North Ipswich Reserve and joined a massive crowd for a great Christmas night out.
Both are now abandoned and I was reminded of their demise by a retailer in the CBD last week who was lamenting that our big events had disappeared replaced by smaller struggling happenings around the district.
The council threw a ton of money at their Spark Illumination extravaganza a few months ago and the crowds that attended must have been extremely disappointing considering the outlay was a huge $747,431.
Recently I was told that council is cutting back the small funding they provide to the voluntary committees that run the carols at Brassall, Ripley, Springfield and Redbank Plains.
This year they provided the Brassall organisers with $15,000 and informed them that next year it will be reduced to $12,000 and the year after that $10,000.
The Brassall Christmas in Sutton Park has long been a favourite for locals especially when former councillor Cheryl Bromage was at the helm.
There was always a joust between her and then mayor Pisasale as to who could attract the biggest carols’ crowd.
The council money may seem to be reasonable but this year the pruned back carols event at Brassall alone cost $45,000 to put on with free admission.
It meant the committee had to go cap in hand around the community trying to raise the $30,000 extra they needed.
Fortunately, Crowne Realty came forward with $4000 to pay for the fireworks and the Queensland Country Bank and Scotty Macs Concreting also came aboard as gold sponsors.
But the reality is we can’t expect these volunteers to beg, borrow or steal yet again if they want to run another event.
It’s a big ask and one must wonder just what council’s priorities are especially when we see them spending almost three quarters of a million dollars on an Illumination Festival that few bothered going along to see. Just who is making these decisions?