Tightening budget prompts Festive Season Strategy review

2 June, 2013
Author: Charles Hodgson

A working group made up of five Sunshine Coast councillors and council staff will work together over the next 18 months to define a new delivery model for supporting festive season celebrations across the region.
The way in which Sunshine Coast Council will support future community festive season celebrations is set to change in  after council, at a Special Meeting today, considered a range of options aimed at supporting celebrations without breaking the budget.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the festive season is an iconic and meaningful time of the year for the community to connect and celebrate however it was important for council to appropriately support the program in light of a range of impacts facing Sunshine Coast Council.
“Today council supported a two-staged approach in support of the region’s festive season program which runs from December to January and includes Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Australia Day celebrations,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Council will continue to support this year’s program using the same model as previous years but with a reduced budget and an emphasis on celebrating locally,” Mayor Jamieson said
“However, in light of a number of major changes facing the Sunshine Coast including the separation of Noosa from the Sunshine Coast Council, a reduced budget and the effects of the current economic client, the 2014/15 festive season will be supported under a different model.
“The new model will see council move into the role of partner and ensure festive celebrations become more community orientated and less reliant on council funding.”
The model suggests council will partner with the community in support of five community events (three coastal and two hinterland), including the established Kings Beach and Cotton Tree carols events.
In relation to decorated trees and banners, the model also suggests council will move towards decorating only one tree in each division to be selected in consultation with divisional councillors and Parks and Gardens staff.
Community Programs portfolio chair Councillor Jenny McKay said this staged approach will allow the lead in time required by council to work with the community and develop community capacity to deliver elements of the festive season program previously managed and funded by council.
“By establishing a working group, council will be able to consider the needs of individual communities, and by allowing time to refine the delivery model will ensure differing community values are understood,” Cr McKay said.
“The needs of our hinterland towns differ greatly to the coastal communities so an ‘apples for apples’ approach would not work.
“It’s very important we engage with all community groups and work with them on this path to empowerment.”
At today’s meeting, council elected to renounce the Festive Season Strategy and instead deliver an annually endorsed program of festive events and activities under the umbrella of the Sunshine Coast Events Policy and the Community Events and Celebrations Strategy.