Grey Mardi Gras funding discussed

Cobar Shire Councillors are in favour of holding another Grey Mardi Gras festival again next year.

The matter was discussed at Wednesday’s April Ordinary Council Meeting with all councillors agreeing that the festival had been of great benefit to the town.

Cr Jarrod Marsden however said he was wary about allocating a sum of $40,000 in the 2019/2020 budget towards the festival as he was concerned it would set a precedent.

“Other events such as the Running on Empty festival or the show don’t get this support from council,” Cr Marsden said.

In a report to last week’s meeting about the festival, council’s special projects officer, Angela Shepherd advised that this year’s
festival is estimated to have cost $90,000 to hold.

Of that Council contributed $8,500 with the balance of funds raised through grants and sponsorship.

Ms Shepherd said a figure of $40,000 was recommended for next year’s budget so that
in the event that the fundraising targets are
not met next year, the festival may still go ahead.

She said any unspent funds would be returned to the budget.

“The festival was aimed at attracting Grey Nomads to Cobar and to encourage them to stay longer than one night,” Ms Shepherd said.

She said visitor statistics from the museum, information from local accommodation
providers and business owners have showed that “we achieved that aim”.

She said support for the events held was fabulous by both visitors and local residents.

“Many lessons have been learnt from the inaugural event and higher than expected attendance was achieved,” Ms Shepherd reported.

She recommended that council support holding a festival again next year to build on this year’s success and that next year’s festival be incorporated into Cobar’s 150 years celebrations.

Councillors deferred allocating funding until a further analysis of the Grey Mardi Gras festival and the Festival of the Miner’s Ghost could be carried out by council’s new tourism manager, Demi Smith.