March for Maylands fest?

IF you’re wondering if you missed the Maylands Street Festival originally scheduled for last month the answer is no: it was scrapped because the organisers, MBA, failed to get enough funding and were too busy to sort it out.

They’ve asked Bayswater council for permission to stage it in March instead. In April the council voted to give MBA $12,500 to host the festival.

“The city is disappointed that the festival did not occur in November, but understands that organising a big event requires a lot of attention, commitment and time from all volunteers involved,” mayor Sylvan Albert said.

Cr Terry Kenyon wants the funds taken back and allocated to someone else to run the street party: “The funds were granted on the proviso that the festival was held in November,” he says.

“That has not happened and we need to look at other organisations who can deliver. There are elections next year—it is not appropriate to hold the festival in March, it should be November.”

The group Local Arts and Community Events—which also runs the successful Maylands Markets—is keen to help the MBA run the festival, or take over completely.

LACE chairperson Catherine Ehrhardt says residents and businesses were disappointed and confused when the 2014 festival didn’t happen.

“The festival is a good economic boost for businesses on Eighth Avenue and Whatley Crescent, so traders were disappointed,” she says.

“Nobody was informed that the festival wasn’t going to happen and we we’re left scratching our heads at the end of November—it was poor communication.

“Since July, LACE has contacted the MBA asking if they needed assistance, but they didn’t get back to us.”

The popular biennial festival attracts around 10,000 people and has been running for six years. In 2012 the council appointed an economic development officer, whose duties include liaising with business to gauge opportunities for holding street fiestas.

Maylands Labor MP Lisa Baker is also disappointed the festival was scrapped and says the council should more closely scrutinise groups allocated money to complete tasks.

The Voice contacted MBA president Dominic Cuscuna but he didn’t get back to us.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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