Market Square during Jacaranda Festival. While this year’s festival is cancelled, Clarence Valley Council are hoping to attract visitors with an illuminating new initiative.
Market Square during Jacaranda Festival. While this year’s festival is cancelled, Clarence Valley Council are hoping to attract visitors with an illuminating new initiative.

LIGHT ‘EM UP: Bold plan for Grafton’s beloved trees

FIRST there was JobKeeper, then JobMaker, now there's a new stimulus measure in the mix - JacaKeeper.

Despite the cancellation of this year's Jacaranda Festival, Clarence Valley Council has been successful in securing a sizeable grant from the Australian Trade and Investment Commission with the aim of attracting tourists during everyone's favourite season.

The Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grant worth $195,000 will allow Council to illuminate Grafton's famous jacaranda trees in and around See Park from 2021, with a possible extension to Market Square.

In addition to the light show, it is envisioned that a series of concerts titled Grafton Jacarandas Alight will take place in See Park, with the Grafton Jacaranda Festival Inc taking a central role in its organisation.

Council staff said both projects will bring locals and visitors together, to celebrate nature, beauty and human creativity with 'light' and the illuminated trees will become a permanent installation.

 

Sadly, there will be none of this in 2020, but thankfully there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus among Grafton’s thriving jacaranda population.
Sadly, there will be none of this in 2020, but thankfully there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus among Grafton’s thriving jacaranda population.

"Lighting the jacaranda trees to experience their beauty during the evening has been a long held intention, as a way to value add to one of our biggest tourism assets," Council events development officer Alicia Savelloni said.

"It will be a chance to remind us, now more than ever, it's important to stock up on feelings that remind us that life - and the world we live in - is beautiful."

During discussion at the Corporate Governance and Works Committee meeting on Tuesday, councillors commended staff in being able to wrangle an extra $50,000 following discussions with Austrade.

"Our senior staff responsible for gaining the grant deserve a pat on the back," Councillor Arthur Lysaught said.

The initiative was included in the Jacaranda Festival review report Taking Traditions into the Future completed in 2016 and was suggested by a number of residents and community groups during Council's See Park community consultation in 2019.

The park has only just recently had a facelift with a series of paths being reconstructed to enhance access at the popular park.

 

See Park was one of the worst affected areas during a freak storm in January. Thankfully it did not prevent anyone from getting beers from the nearby bottleshop..
See Park was one of the worst affected areas during a freak storm in January. Thankfully it did not prevent anyone from getting beers from the nearby bottleshop..

See Park was also the epicentre of a freak storm which destroyed a number of trees and forced the interruption of a fantastic game of trivia in the process.

The Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants program is a $10 million grants program which has been drawn from the Bushfire Recovery Fund and is part of the Federal Government's $76 million tourism recovery package.

The program aims to support events, concerts, festivals and visitor attractions in fire affected regions to assist with recovery efforts and encourage visitors back to the regions.



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