NYE fireworks: last blast for Belmore Basin?

This year’s New Year’s Eve fireworks at Belmore Basin could be the city’s last, Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has warned.

Councillor Bradbery said Wollongong was facing a ‘‘quiet’’ New Year’s Eve next year unless Wollongong City Council could find a corporate sponsor to fund the fireworks, which cost about $15,000.

The council yesterday confirmed it had still not found a sponsor for this year’s event, after last year’s backer, the Illawarra Mutual Building Society, transferred its funding dollars to the council’s Sunset Cinema series.

But Cr Bradbery insisted the celebration would go ahead ‘‘as usual’’.

‘‘I want to be clear, we will be having a New Year’s Eve celebration in 2012; we’ve made a commitment to the people of Wollongong,’’ he said, adding the council would cover the gap in funds.

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But he could not guarantee the same next year.

‘‘We need a corporate sponsor to ensure we’re able to put this event on for our community for years to come,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

‘‘We want to make it a decent show; that show mainly focuses on the fireworks, and we need help to make that happen.’’

The council now spends between $20,000 and $25,000 each year on its New Year’s Eve event, funding security, toilets, traffic management, entertainment and sound and lights. 

Traditionally,  corporate dollars have covered the cost of the 9.30pm fireworks display. Cr Bradbery said he feared residents would go elsewhere to celebrate if no sponsor could be found.

‘‘We want to keep expanding our New Year’s Eve celebrations, but we can’t do that without support from the corporate sector,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t want to see the council lose this community celebration due to economic constraints.’’

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