Councillors question event focus

Brooke RolfeSouth Western Times

Questions have been raised over whether the Dardanup Shire Council’s The Looking Glass events are value for money with councillors delaying a decision on the program’s future.

The council was set to vote on continuing the community events for a second year but deferred the decision to allow for more discussion on the matter.

Questions were raised at last week’s meeting as to whether the events were an appropriate use of the council’s budget, with at least $80,000 spent on the program annually.

While a report recommended the continuation of the events, Cr Patricia Perks told the council the money could be better spent in other areas of community development.

“I don’t think it’s time to be running events like this,” Cr Perks said.

She said if the council was spending that amount of money, it needed to make sure it was getting “bang for its buck”.

But Cr Danny Harris responded saying the events had attracted many people from outside the “immediate area” and the last thing the council should do is shut it down.

Shire president Mick Bennett told the South Western Times the events had achieved the original intention of “opening up the valley” to more visitors.

More than 2000 people have been part of the nine events throughout the year which included a Bollywood-themed night at St Aidan Wines, Shakespeare performances at the Wellington Forest Cottages and free skateboarding clinics.

If the events are approved to continue for the 2017 calendar, the council will look into opportunities to utilise parts of the Eaton Foreshore and Eaton town centre.

However, Cr Perks said she would like to see “a little bit of jiggling” before any plans for a 2017 program were put in place.

Her suggestion that events could be directed at specific groups of people was backed by Cr Carmel Boyce who said she liked the program but wanted to see “something a little more targeted”.

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