Council has endorsed a new events policy to strike a balance between the use of public land for events and the community’s right to use public space for recreation.
“This policy has been developed in response to concerns voiced by residents about the impact of events,” Cr Jess Glasgow said. “Whilst acknowledging the important role that events play, adding to cultural vibrancy and the local economy, the new policy also identifies that the day-to-day recreational use of community land by residents should generally take precedence.
“The policy sets the number of tourism events that can occur in the Hastings Street and Main Beach area, keeping them at the current level of intensity.
“With the policy in place, Council staff can now prepare easy-to-follow guidelines for event managers. The guidelines will also help event organisers meet Council’s expectations about waste management, traffic, transport and communication with the community,” Cr Glasgow said.
“It gives staff the basis and framework to make good decisions.”
Besides the closure of public land for events, issues such as surrounding road closures are often a source of complaints.
“We do want to find the right balance between public amenity and the impact of events,” Cr Glasgow said. “And this policy provides staff with the ability to achieve that balance.
“Ideally, events on public land should be diverse and inclusive as well as support broad community participation.”
The policy also reflects the efforts of Council and the community to reduce single use plastics. By 2021 Council expects all events on public land to have phased out single-use plastics.
“Organisers of recurrent events will need to demonstrate continuous improvements in sustainable environmental practices.”
The policy will help to ensure events don’t adversely impact public assets, nor see ratepayers foot the bill for repairs.
“A common misconception is that Council makes a profit from events. That is not true. The fees we charge simply cover the resources required to assess and monitor events.”
“Organisers of events that are susceptible to bad weather must have contingency plans in place, plus they must bear the cost of any required repairs to public infrastructure.”
Cr Glasgow thanked members of the community for taking the time to have a say during the consultation period.