Alexandrina Council report gives Goolwa's 2017 Wooden Boat Festival glowing endorsement

REGION – An overhaul of the running of the Wooden Boat Festival has the event back on even keel, following a cost blow out in 2015.

An Alexandrina Council review of the 2017 Wooden Boat Festival found it came in well under its $65,000 budget. In 2015 the event cost council nearly $200,000.

It means the new format, run by a volunteer committee, rather than council, will see the event continue.

Held every two years, the festival has seen a number of formats and in recent times plagued by adverse weather conditions and criticism of management.

A report on the event was presented at council’s Monday, July 3 meeting, from officers Elizabeth Williams and Tanya Mitchell.

About 14,000 people attended the 2017 event. A survey of festival-goers found attendees were 36 per cent day trippers, 30pc local, 18pc overnight intrastate, 15pc interstate and 2pc overseas.

The majority of retailers in the Southern Alexandrina Business Association saw a rise in revenue and foot traffic, with an increase in takings of up to 60pc.

Councillor Grant Gartrell said he was impressed with the community’s response to the event.

“It was really nice to see that community support, it was very uplifting,” Cr Gartrell said.

This year’s festival was moved from February to April, during which it enjoyed ideal weather.

In addition to the $65,000 budget, total estimated council staff input was 990 hours or $46,600.

The council report highlighed a critical priority was to establish and implement a sponsor acquisition program early in the planning process. To do so, the committee will recruit a skilled, committed and energetic person to guide the process.