Tough decision needed
Another Oysterfest has been and gone, leaving, as usual, divisive debate about its perceived success or failure.
Community members have raised their concerns and provided meaningful suggestions for improvement, which were at times, regrettably, dealt with in a highly defensive nature.
Those presenting a public performance or activity must always be prepared for both positive and negative feedback in order to meet the needs of those who attend and move the event forward.
An area of contention, has been the lack of community involvement at all levels of the planning, organisation and running of the 2019 Oysterfest.
There has been a gradual decline in community involvement, particularly since January 2002, when the council appointed Rob Curkpatrick as the events co-ordinator, with a specific focus on the total solar eclipse in December of that year.
Providing a salaried position to run what was essentially a community event, instigated and facilitated by a hardworking committee, alienated many locals who had given their time, effort and commitment so generously for the previous decade.
The council, through necessity, has taken major responsibility for the Oysterfest, financially and administratively over the past decade.
With the combined deficits for the past 11 years totalling $669 587, excluding any employee labour, the future viability of the Oysterfest should be, and is, being questioned.
Given the following statement, included in the tourism and events officer's comprehensive and well written report to council - "While it is still important for local businesses and organisations to be involved with the Oysterfest, to use as platform to promote themselves, evidence now clearly shows that it is no longer viable to continue the festival as a locally focussed event" - alarm bells should be ringing for all at the council.
While it is admirable to see Ceduna develop as a tourist destination, deeper consideration must be given to pursuing this aim in light of our current economic situation.
Do wage and salary earners, who are experiencing extremely low wage growth and self-funded retirees, who are receiving very low rates of interest on their investments, have the disposable income to be able afford to participate in tourist activities in remote and isolated regions such as ours?
Can our council afford to pursue this direction and expose ratepayers to further budgetary losses?
I strongly urge all ratepayers to make personal contact with their councillors and to convey their opinion on the future of the Oysterfest. Councillors should not be left to make decisions in isolation. Informed feedback is vital.
Meals on Wheels roster
Ceduna: Dec 6: Y. Borlase, N. Bubner; Dec 9: M. Trowbridge, K. Dunn; Dec 10: B. Harris, S. Holland; Dec 11: L. Syrianos, P. Nielsen; Dec 12: M. and J. Shipard.
Streaky Bay: Dec 6: J. Williams, S. Gilmore; Dec 9: L. Bubner, A. Goddard; Dec 10: P. Hogan, J. Kenny; Dec 11: D. Stephens, Z. Chester; Dec 12: H. Flannigan, A. Sidler.