Free community festival Spring Into Corrimal in jeopardy over security costs

UNDER THREAT: Corrimal Chamber of Commerce chair Paul Boultwood says people forget they are a not-for-profit organisation and have to fundraise to pu. Picture: Adam McLean
UNDER THREAT: Corrimal Chamber of Commerce chair Paul Boultwood says people forget they are a not-for-profit organisation and have to fundraise to pu. Picture: Adam McLean

Organisers of Spring Into Corrimal fear community festivals could become a thing of the past due to rising costs of security.

The Corrimal Chamber of Commerce has four weeks to find another $10,000 in sponsorship or they will be forced to cancel this year’s 37th event scheduled for September.

Sadly you may see community events go to the wayside.

Paul Boultwood

Chairperson Paul Boultwood said he understands why increased security needs to be implemented but the cost to produce the free festival has increased by about $20,000 in the past year.

He said it has placed immense pressure on the not-for-profit organisation and they have already had to omit the Community Stage from the program.

“All these limitations, I get it – I would hate someone to come to Spring Into Corrimal and get hurt because of some imbecile out there,” Mr Boultwood said.

“Traffic management and traffic mitigation, all the security – that’s the thing that’s killing us.

“The last thing I want to do is put on a worse for wear event, it would be better to cancel it rather than do a mediocre event.”

Mr Boultwood said Wollongong City Council had been very supportive, however the funding for the event comes from community sponsors and stallholders.

“Whoever puts these limitations on volunteers, sadly you may see community events go to the wayside,” he said.

“It’s good for Wollongong … we bring people into Wollongong to show them what we can do.”

It’s estimated around 55,000 people visited Spring Into Corrimal last year with people from the Southern Highlands, Shoalhaven, Western Sydney and Gosford.

The 2017 event was also put in jeopardy due to security issues, with police telling organisers just over a week out from the event they needed more.

The federal government launched Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowding Places From Terrorism last year, with the guidelines directed on a local level.

NSW Police told the Mercury previously with all community events they work with a variety of government bodies, owners and operators to provide advice on security measures.

In the past year, local council areas around the country have stepped up their own security measures to prevent vehicle and terror attacks in public places.

Wollongong City Council chose to bring in public art, an expanded CCTV network and planter box-style bollards to tackle anti-social behaviour.