CARNIVALE, one of Wodonga’s premier events, won’t be held next year.
No funding has been allocated for Carnivale in the city’s draft budget.
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The council’s community development director, Debra Mudra, said last night a review was taking place into Carnivale’s format and its return could not be guaranteed.
Minutes from the council’s most recent meeting, when the draft budget was adopted, reveal Cr Anna Speedie said Carnivale would not be held next year “so works can be done on the closure of Hovell Street and other significant changes to traffic and pedestrian flows around the city”.
Cr Speedie’s comments as part of a detailed statement about the draft budget, now on public display, add further weight to a belief Hovell Street would be closed despite the first round of consultation slated for next week.
She was one of five councillors who supported closing Hovell Street and described the move as an example of “good urban planning”.
The motion also agreed to $1.4 million for works associated with the closure.
One central Wodonga businessman, who declined to be named, described next week’s consultation as a “sham” and added the council had already made up its mind about closing Hovell Street.
Carnivale had its origins in the Commonwealth Games year of 2006 when Wodonga was paired with Jamaica.
The event regularly attracts crowds of 10,000 plus and is held on the Labour Day long weekend in March.
Ms Mudra said the timing was right for a review of Carnivale with the works outlined by Cr Speedie.
“The timing of the work could in actual fact impact on our ability to deliver Carnivale,” she said.
“It would be an opportunity for us to review the whole format for Carnivale.
“It is a good time to have a look at what the community and participants of Carnivale are telling us about how we can improve on it.
“It is such a huge event we need time to do that review well.”
Carnivale could also be affected by the realignment of Elgin Boulevard, due to take place in the next financial year.
The review findings will be presented to the council.
Asked whether Carnivale would definitely return in 2015, Ms Mudra said: “There has been no talk of Carnivale not coming back.
“The talk has been about let’s seize this opportunity for a review.”
Carnivale has previously cost about $100,000 to stage each year with a mix of funding sources including ratepayers, sponsorship and state government contributions.
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