Business Chamber "more than disappointed" at decision to cancel traditional Woolfest

Boorowa's Irish Woolfest has been cancelled
Boorowa's Irish Woolfest has been cancelled "in its traditional form" for 2020 and Hilltops Council are seeking alternatives.

The Boorowa Business Chamber (BBC) has expressed its disappointment following a decision by Hilltops Council to cancel this year's Irish Woolfest "in its traditional format".

Council also pulled the pin on Young's National Cherry Festival and the Harden Kite Festival, opting to engage with communities in an effort to spark ideas to create alternate programs to attract visitors and bolster local economies while also supporting public health.

In a statement, BBC President Michael Ward said the Chamber was at a loss as to why a decision had been made this far in advance of Woolfest, which is normally held on the Sunday of the October long weekend.

"The Boorowa Business Chamber (BBC) was more than disappointed with the Boorowa Woolfest Committee making recommendation to Hilltops Council to cancel this festival approximately four months from the Woolfest due date," he said.

"Similarly the BBC were also exceedingly unhappy with the Hilltops Council decision on June 24 to cancel all major events (in their current form) including Woolfest for 2020.

"All councils around us have continued to plan their own events knowing that if the COVID environment restrictions are still in place, they will either cancel or put acceptable restrictions in place.

"These Councils continue to plan as they are aware of the significant impact 'Lockdown' had on all local business and communities.

"In their wisdom, these progressive councils by showing strong support for local events, mirror the thoughts of our Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and numerous other MPs in making every conceivable effort in getting the local economies moving again."

Councillor Wendy Tuckerman advised against inviting thousands of people to small towns for a weekend amid a global pandemic, however, she wants to keep options open.

"There's no actual gate takings, there's no ability to take peoples names in regards to tracing if something should occur. We just have to be really realistic about what we're doing and start thinking how else we can get visitors to our region," she said.

Council staff's recommendation to allocate fifty per cent of marketing budgets for each event to increasing visitation to the region and updating event websites, and allocating 50 per cent of the entertainment and services budget for the National Cherry Festival to hosting COVID-safe activities, was also adopted.

Alternate programs will be put to councillors next month.