Events push to bring back crowds

Hopes are high Chinese New Year can pull people back to Perth’s CBD.

A RELOCATED Chinese New Year celebration, a Festival of Sail, and a multi-generational LGBTI+ barn hoedown are on a lineup of events hoped to kickstart the city’s post-coronavirus recovery.

Perth city council has set aside $1.25 million for post-Covid events this financial year, focusing on bringing visitors back to the city centre and reversing the decline in retail spending.

The first round of funding is to be considered by commissioners at the next council meeting. 

The Chung Wah Association’s Chinese New Year has been rated most highly on an assessment by council staff, ticking so many bonus boxes (like including people from all walks of life) that it got 116 per cent on its assessment score.

Staff have recommend Chung Wah get $70,000 for the  2021 Year of the Ox celebration, which could be moved from the Northbridge stretch of William Street to the Perth Cultural Centre and museum precinct.

The cost of “hostile vehicle mitigation” has prompted the move. Barriers to stop vehicles have been increasingly required for events approvals by councils and state agencies in line with federal guidelines that came out following the Nice truck attack in 2016 and the Bourke Street car attack in 2017.

But it’s pricey: HVM measures cost $30,000 for the the 2017 Anzac Day Commemoration.

Chinese New Year celebrations usually gets PCC funding and is one of the most popular among local businesses, who report a 28 per cent increase in trade compared to a typical Sunday, and an economic impact of about $1.1 million. 

This year a photo exhibition of Chung Wah’s history is planned to be held in conjunction with the new WA Museum due to open in November. 

The multi-generational barn dance held by GLBTI Rights in Ageing at City Farm in August is slated for $3,000, the 10-day Perth Festival of Sail starting January 25 is also up for $25,000 funding, and council staff have recommended Channel 7 gets a huge $120,000 to run the Christmas pageant, in line with the spend of the past three years.

Staff recommend refusing funding for events below an 80 per cent assessment score, including the Perth International Boat Show, some more TED talks, and the West Aussie Fur Frenzy. The annual Fur Frenzy convention is for the “furry” subculture who enjoy and even dress up as anthropomorphic animals, but the council report notes it’s a ticketed event at a city hotel and “aimed at a niche audience with very small attendance numbers, and limited opportunities for the wider community to connect”.

Events have to have a Covid contingency plan in place if the outbreak gets bad again, and they range from limiting numbers via tickets (but free ones), to outright cancellation.

by DAVID BELL

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