12 August 2023

Lack of interest leads to scaled back NYE plans

| Jarryd Rowley
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Kids enjoying the outdoor disco by the lake in 2022. Photo: Chris Roe.

Wagga Wagga City Council have announced a ‘scaled back’ celebration for New Year’s Eve 2023 due to a lack of responses to an expression of interest callout in June this year.

The past two NYE celebrations were held by local event coordinators Colab Creative but following the expiration of the previous agreement and the owners of the business moving to Yass, the 2023 event has been left unattended.

The 2023 version of the celebrations will only see fireworks around the lake at 9 pm.

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Council chose that time because many in the community believe this is a more manageable timeslot for younger families.

The 2021/22 Light the Lake event earned a lot of praise from the people of Wagga and the surrounding areas, with many enjoying the sense of occasion created by the festivities.

Despite the lack of interest from the community to organise this year’s event, WWCC has announced that council staff will look to deliver a “scaled back” community event for the next three years.

However, should a suitable candidate come forward for the 2024 and 2025 events, the council has said they would consider allocating the planned budget.

Council originally had a budget allocation of $57,964 for potential organisers to use for this year’s event following the success of the event in previous years.

Locals from across the region gathered at Lake Albert for Light Up the Lake. Photo: Chris Roe

Council has sponsored external organisers of the NYE event since 2013 with the exception of 2019 and 2020 due to bushfires and social distancing restrictions.

The result of the council’s EOI period has left WWCC community services manager Janice Summerhayes disappointed however despite the letdown she is urging families to attend this year’s event.

“It is really difficult for external parties to get volunteers and they have other commitments themselves with their own standalone businesses,” Ms Summerhayes said.

“What we are now proposing is we will still go ahead with a fireworks display.

“Council staff will engage a contract for the fireworks display, and it can still be a really enjoyable evening around the lake.”

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Ms Summerhayes said there would still be a family atmosphere that would be perfect for those looking to picnic on the banks of the lake.

“I think it’s still something that lends to everyone coming out and celebrating,” she said.

“We’ll be encouraging everyone to go on to venues in the main street and it’s really important that we do patronise our venues on the main street as well.”

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