Decision not to have fireworks

THE COUNCIL’S decision not to have fireworks on New Year’s Eve has sunk Maryborough River Cruises’ Captain Denis Kerr’s hopes for a lucrative start to 2010.

“I have long-standing clients, coach operators from down south who bring their busloads here to take a midnight trip on the river to view the fireworks.

“This group, generally over 45 in number, usually stays for two nights in Maryborough.

“That means a loss of 90 bed nights for Maryborough motels.

“I guess these people will now give Maryborough the flick and go to Bundaberg or elsewhere.

“They won’t be the first and unfortunately won’t be the last to bypass Maryborough because of the lack of facilities and amenities.”

Riverside restaurants that held New Year’s parties to view fireworks would also be hit, he said.

“I’m a bit disappointed in the council’s decision,” said Michael Cox, the proprietor of the Muddy Waters Cafe.

“We’ve already got a few bookings. We’ve only been running the cafe for nine weeks and now there won’t be any fireworks.

“Last year I was working here and there were close to 80 people.”

Councillor Anne Nioa, who heads the tourism portfolio, said the council made a decision to put the fireworks revenue into Christmas family focused events.

“We’ve got one in Hervey Bay on Saturday night, the 19th, and in Maryborough on the 20th.

“Fireworks nights are expensive because you also need to stage an event with them and there are things like street closures.”

Ms Nioa said Maryborough had wonderful facilities and amenities in its Queens Park and Mary River Parklands plus surrounding historic buildings.

“One of the amalgamated council’s responsibilities is dispersal of visitors throughout the region. We have lots of choices for visitors.”

Mr Kerr could not understand the short notice of the fireworks cancellation.

“We only read about it in the Chronicle this Wednesday when the council must have decided to cancel the fireworks some time ago. I am duty-bound to inform the coach group of this change and hope that they will understand, but I am running out of excuses for Maryborough’s lack of tourism sense.”

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