Large number of submissions show locals keen to take a break
WHEN it comes to holidays, Grafton cannot be accused of apathy.
Clarence Valley Council has been swamped with public submissions on the question of gazetting event days or public holidays as local festival days. Included are Jacaranda Thursday, Maclean Show Day and Ramornie Handicap and Grafton Cup race carnival days.
Council director for environment, planning and community Des Schroder said staff were sorting through up to 1000 submissions - more than 300 individual submissions and 600 petitions.
"We don't know which way the submissions have gone yet," Mr Schroder said.
"We haven't done the analysis.
"What generally happens is we have people who go one way or the other, but there will be others having a bet each way."
He said the response this year had been outstanding compared to last year, when Jacaranda Thursday was made a half-day public holiday on very few public submissions.
"There was hardly any last year - maybe three from memory," Mr Schroder said.
Council staff would analyse submissions and submit results to the next full council meeting in December.
"Council will make its recommendation, but the decision is made at State Government level," he said.
In the past, the government has followed the council's recommendation, but Mr Schroder said it would be interesting to see the response to a recommendation to revert from an event day to a public holiday.
Mr Schroder noted the public response to the council's Jacaranda Gold Cup winning skit on the issue.
"You would have to say support for the public holiday was pretty much overwhelming," he said.
"At the council we had to be totally unbiased and put both sides forward."
A Jacaranda Festival Committee's submission said continuing Jacaranda Thursday as an event day endangered the festival's future.
Committee manager Kristy Schroder said this year's festival lived off the hype around the event day change.
"We had people pulling their kids out of school in protest, but they won't continue to do that when an event day becomes the norm," Ms Schroder said.