LIGHT IT UP: The 2017 Newcastle Foreshore 9pm New year’s Eve fireworks. Picture: Jonathan Carroll. Calls for midnight fireworks in Newcastle on New Year’s Eve are growing strongerafterNewcastle deputy lord mayorDeclan Clausen declared it an event that“has to be explored”.
Speaking from theNew Year’s Evecelebrations atNewcastle Foreshore on Sunday night, Cr Clausen gave an indication that a return to a midnightdisplay would be considered bycouncilif additional funding could be secured.
“There’s been a lot of comment in the last few days about the need for Newcastle to host a midnight fireworks and I think that is somethingthat absolutely has to be explored,” he said.
“But we need to be up front and honest that this evening has cost ratepayers $190,000. I think that’s an absolutely worthwhile investment, but we just need to be cognizant of who pays if we were to extend.
“I’m hopeful that there might be other agencies who are able to chip in to make that a success in future years.”
Last Friday, theHeraldreportedNewcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp wascontinuing hispush for a midnight display and had written to the state governmentto see if there were any possible funding opportunities.
The NSWLabor MP also wrote toNewcastle City Council CEO Jeremy Bath, whocalled on Mr Crakanthorp to useCommunity Building Partnerships money to fund a midnight show in 2018.
“I acknowledge that Newcastle families appreciate the 9pm show and I am supportive of this remaining the main event,” Mr Crakanthorp said.
“Newcastle has a unique opportunity to attract thousands of additional visitors and tourists back to the city on New Year’s Eve, which would be a huge boost to our nighttime economy.”
The only midnight edition of nine displays held in the Hunter this year wasat Harrigan’s Irish Pub inPokolbin.
The last midnight fireworks in Newcastle were held in 2012 beforecouncil optedto focuson a “family-friendly” spectacle in the 9pm time slot forthe following year.
Organisers of the 2017 celebrations had a strong focus onensuring there was ahost ofactivitiesin place at the Queen’s Wharf precinct for New Year’s Eve crowds, activating five separate spaces to incorporate live music, interactive gamesanda specialiseddisabilities area.
CrClausenacknowledged the need to keep people activated if a midnight display was to return, along with extending suitable transport options.
“It’s fair, we are an emerging global city and it’s something that cities of our size do,” CrClausen said.
“It just requires extra preparation, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got something for people to do during those three hours between the 9 o’clock and midnight fireworks, and then different plans to make sure people can leavethe city safely.
“Clearly, the park and ride success from this evening is a good indication that Novocastrians are willing to try something a bit different.
“Hence, if we were to expand to midnight in future years, I’d like to hope that will continue to grow and more and more people can make use of that to get in and out of theevent safely.”