Party for new year a family necessity

COUNCILLOR Ben Shields agrees a New Year's event should be held in Dubbo, but not one funded solely from the council's purse.

The Daily Liberal reported yesterday many Dubbo residents were questioning why a city the size of Dubbo did not have a family-friendly event to see in the new year.

Cr Shields said he thought it was a great idea to host a celebratory event, but by sharing the expense and labour around.

"I would be particularly keen to get some sort of private sponsorship, like they have in Orange," he said.

"I wouldn't be too happy for just the rate payers to be handing out cash for it."

Cr Shields said it would be a great opportunity for private business, service clubs and council to collaborate on a New Year's Eve event.

He believes a family-friendly night is much needed, with the over-18s already reasonably catered for.

"If you have a family and little kids you can't really take them to the pubs and clubs, so an alcohol-free event somewhere like No.1 Oval, similar to Carols by Candlelight would be welcomed."

Dubbo-centric Facebook pages were ripe with the debate, as was the Daily Liberal website.

Poster Bev said, "It is not the council's or ratepayer's responsibility to fork out money to provide fireworks on New Year's Eve. We would need police, ambulances and fire engines on standby at midnight. Look at how busy the police, ambulance, and cleaners were in Sydney, picking up the rubbish 'til the late morning..."

Caine Dixon said, "I spent some time online in the lead up to New Year's Eve trying to find out if there was some sort of community event in Dubbo, and when I approached the Dubbo Visitors Information Centre I was told if I wanted to take the family somewhere for New Year's I could go to the Macquarie Inn as they have a playground..."

Shirley Colless said, "I have no problem with a New Year's Eve family-centred, alcohol-free concert, but fireworks? Definitely not. Apart from the cost, the thought of fireworks at midnight at a time of high temperatures, high wind and a lot of dry country around gives me the shivers. There were problems with fires breaking out where fireworks displays took place in country areas."

Yesterday Council responded to inquiries about a new year's event.

The council spokesperson said if the public deemed there was a gap in the local events calendar, there was an opportunity for it to be considered by the Dubbo Events Network.

The spokesperson said the new City Events Strategy was developed to identify and create a report for industry consideration, and would allow the requests to be further explored.

lisa.minner@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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