Twin Towns Services Club Manager Rob Smith.
Twin Towns Services Club Manager Rob Smith.

Twin towns boss fires up

TWIN Towns Services Club manager Rob Smith has slammed Wintersun organiser Barry McNamara for suggesting local businesses do not contribute enough to the annual nostalgia festival

“Mr McNamara seems to think that the clubs, business and tourist accommodation on the Tweed are only here for the benefit of the Wintersun Festival which is only one weekend of the year,” Mr Smith said.

“He and the Wintersun committee don't do anything to support our business during the rest of the year, but is happy to go out and lampoon the same businesses that he is coming to for support.”

Mr Smith's comments come after Mr McNamara confirmed on Monday that the festival, to be held across the Twin Towns from May 29 to June 8 this year, will again be held in the Tweed Heads and Coolangatta area in 2010.

But, if the business community wanted the festival in 2011 and beyond, he said they would have to contribute more to its cost and organisation.

This year Twin Towns is providing $5000 in support to Wintersun, and in previous years the club has provided in-kind support by providing “more than 300 hours of free entertainment” that complements the rock n' roll theme.

For the first time this year the club will hold its own entertainment independently of the festival.

“Mr McNamara doesn't seem to take into account that Wintersun has both negative and positive affects on local businesses, especially at Twin Towns,” Mr Smith said.

“For example, when Stuart Street is closed to traffic it restricts our members' use of our main parking area as well as access to our resorts.

“In fact, any general road closure for the festival has a flow-on effect, because it makes it more difficult for people to access the club.

Mr Smith criticised the organisation of the event and said organisers need to learn to better communicate with businesses on the border to capitalise on promotion opportunities.

“The event is extremely Queensland-centric, and in the past there have been events held in the parklands around the club which has had a flow-on benefit,” he said.

“But we can't promote something if we don't know it is happening, and there needs to be better communication between the organisers and businesses.

“There is no denying that Wintersun has great flow-on benefit for the area, but Mr McNamara is going about it the wrong way if he wants to get more support.”

Meanwhile, Carl Petersen of the Professionals Coolangatta/Tweed said his business was one that willingly offered financial support to Wintersun every year.

“We don't find we get a lot of business during the Wintersun carnival, but it's great for the Gold Coast and gets a lot of visitors here,” Mr Petersen said.

“From a real estate perspective, it creates a great awareness of the area so we get long-term benefits out of it.

“We don't want to lose it so we'll continue to support it.”

Jim Wilson, general manager of Connecting Southern Gold Coast - a business-funded organisation aimed at promoting tourism and economic development in the area - said a meeting will be held in July after this year's festival where Wintersun committee members, Gold Coast City Council and other stakehold- ers would complete a thor- ough review of the festival business model, including accessing on-going funding.

“We are going to work in co-operation with the committee, and at the meeting start with a clean slate and work out ways we can ensure Wintersun is here to stay for the long-term.”

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