Council pulls out of Ekka, food festival attendance
THEY’RE two of the biggest cultural events in Queensland, but a local council won’t be attending them any longer.
The iconic Ekka and the Regional Flavours food festival attract tens of thousands of visitors every year, with attendees coming from around the country for them.
But despite this, Lockyer Valley Regional Council won’t be among the stall holders this year.
The council chose to cease attending the events to save on costs, and to explore new options to grow tourism in the region.
The two events each cost the council more than $30,000 and involved hundreds of hours of work to prepare and attend.
At it’s most recent meeting, councillors received a report outlining the costs and benefits of attending the events.
All councillors were in favour of ending the attendance of the Ekka, but Councillor Janice Holstein raised some concerns around Regional Flavours.
“I’m still in two minds with regional flavours – given it is the showcase of food in Queensland, I’m not sure if we should pull out all together,” Cr Holstein said.
“I’m just concerned that at a time where we’ve been in severe drought, and our producers probably need support more than ever, is it the right time to be pulling out.”
Councillor Chris Wilson however was supportive of the move to end involvement.
He said without a signature event in the Valley to draw visitors to, the council attendance at the Brisbane events was achieving little.
“Regional Flavours is a fantastic event. The problem I have with it is, we’ve got a captive audience there … but when they come to the Lockyer Valley stand, what do we say to them to get them to the Lockyer Valley,” Cr Wilson said.
“We don’t have that event to get those people out here … until we have that signature event about what we’re about I don’t see the value in (Regional Flavours).”
Cr Jason Cook agreed, and suggested the money and time put into the events could be better spent investigating a signature event such as a food festival in the region.
“The amount of money we’re pouring into this, very limited amount of rate payers are getting value for money for what we’re spending,” Cr Cook said.
The motion to cease attendance passed unanimously.