Confusion over venue hire sparks Munro Martin Parklands policy review
Cairns Regional Council is reviewing its policy on the use of Munro Martin Parklands after concerns were raised about underutilisation.
Division five Councillor Richie Bates moved the motion at the general meeting this morning, which was unanimously supported by other Councillors.
Cr Bates said his main aim is for outside groups to be able to hire the venue.
“There are a lot of community organisations out there who can potentially use this and we should consider these.
“We can look at promoters and professional acts through to community groups,” he said.
He received immediate backing from Cr Linda Cooper.
“We are using ratepayers money to create this space,” she argued.
“It shouldn’t be a protected species and we should open up the discussion.”
According to the Council’s website, the Munro Martin Parklands venue isn’t available for hire.
However, the meeting heard there is a policy in place which allows anyone to apply to use it.
Council refused to provide exact statistics on how many organisations have applied, however Tropic Now understands none have been successful.
“We think we’ve had four commercial operators that have approached us about using it,” Council’s General Manager for Community, Sport and Cultural Services Linda Kirchner told the meeting.
“If you take a commercial activity for instance like Cairns on a Fork, they are one of the very few that have approached us about using it and we said it was not appropriate and we encouraged them to activate in the suburbs.”
Current constraints include the cost, which the meeting heard is significant, as well as the capacity of the venue which is currently set at a maximum of 3,500 people.
The other major point that was raised was appropriateness.
Division one Councillor Brett Moller said he was concerned that relaxing the rules could jeopardise the intention for the venue to host high-quality arts and cultural events.
“It’s an arts and cultural capital of regional Australia that we’ve created and that specific use for that venue, you know we’ve had the Queensland and Royal Australian Ballet,” he said.
“But you’re not going to have an Austen Tayshus blokes, jokes and smokes sort of event there.”
However, Richie Bates reckons the matter’s subjective.
“So who decides what’s high quality?” he asked.
Almost 70,000 people have attended ticketed events at the Parklands since it opened in 2016.
Shows have included Angus and Julia Stone, Kate Miller-Heidke, the Soweto Gospel Choir, Jimmy Barnes, Opera Australia and the Royal Ballet.