Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tamworth Country Music Festival - $30,000 banners

Tamworth residents are up in arms, after being made aware of how much the local council is paying simply to hang Country Music Festival flags on power poles throughout town.

Every year during the Tamworth Country Music Festival the Essential Energy power poles located along Peel Street, Kable Avenue, Brisbane Street, and Goonoo Goonoo Road of Tamworth NSW are decorated with banners, which measure approximately 3m x 1m, promoting several high profile Country Music Singers. Usually this practice costs the local council around $10,000 a year. However this year that price will escalate to close to $30,000, which rate payers have been informed they will be paying the bill.

The rate hike came about after Essential Energy necessitated that new load bearing and safety bench-marks be implemented. Under the new guidelines employed; no banners will be hung on any power poles that have sustained damaged from car accidents or other incidents that have caused dents or possible structural damage due to safety concerns. Essential Energy regional manager Matt Patterson expressed that the price hike was not a capital expense from which Essential Energy would derive any financial benefit.

Nevertheless many local residents fail to see what else the cost could be for. “I can’t understand why it’s costing so much,” said one local resident “either the poles are safe and the town can hang flags on them, or they’re not and the flags shouldn’t go up. Why should jacking the price up so much solve the problem?”

Another local commented “How about we spend $30,000 on a survey to see how many tourists would turn around and go home just because the banners are not up?”

Other council areas are reportedly either using smaller banners, which don’t cause as much risk, or have installed their own flag poles as a cheaper alternative. Many residents are hoping that this is an alternative that will be put into place for next year, to ensure that their rates don’t continue to climb for no apparent benefit.

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