The Goondiwindi Lions Club has advised Goondiwindi Regional Council of its decision to cancel its annual Christmas Eve fireworks event for 2020.
Council met with the committee of the Goondiwindi Lions Club on Monday to better understand the challenges of running the popular community event under the Queensland Government's COVID-19 restrictions. The club informed Council that due to decreasing volunteer numbers and an increased workload due to COVID, it would not be possible to host the event this year.
Mayor of the Goondiwindi region the Honourable Cr Lawrence Springborg AM said Council understood the Lions' decision, as the nature of this particular event made it extremely hard to comply with the State Government's COVID event planning restrictions.
"I know this was a hard decision for the Lions and the news will be a disappointment to many in our community who look forward to the fantastic event the club puts on each year," Cr Springborg said.
Council will work with the Lions Club going forward to facilitate a meeting with like-minded community groups to assist with generating additional volunteer support for the fireworks in 2021. Service clubs and volunteers play a vital role in our community and Council also encourages residents to consider how they can participate in, volunteer for, or otherwise support those clubs and community groups in our region.
The Lions Club usually holds their annual fireworks event at the Riddles Oval complex, which is owned by Council and managed by the Goondiwindi Sport and Recreation Association. While the Association supported the facility's use for this year's event, Lions had to consider the predicted difficulty of monitoring the site's multiple entry points along with requirements around contact tracing, limiting attendees' movements and cleaning the site's facilities.
Lions Vice President, Wayne Hamilton, said that COVID-19 requirements had placed additional strain on the club's resources, along with declining volunteer numbers, forcing the club to cancel this year's event.
"COVID-19 restrictions and the uncertainty of what might change between now and Christmas Eve was certainly placing additional strain on the club's members, and a lack of volunteers finalised the decision," Mr Hamilton said. "In addition to all the prep and set-up work, we need volunteers to clean-up and to pack down after the event," he said. "That's not even considering the extra hands we'd need to meet COVID guidelines.
"On behalf of the Goondiwindi Lions, we sincerely thank all the generous individuals and local businesses who have continued to support the club this year."
The Lions will be installing a Christmas lights display at the Lions Park (on the Old Cunningham Highway) in the lead-up to the holidays. The Lions will also collaborate with the Rotary Club of Goondiwindi for a Christmas stocking raffle. Residents should contact the clubs directly for more information about either initiative.
The Goondiwindi Lions Club provides services and support to the community through Lions District 201Q1 and Lions International. The business community first held its annual Christmas Eve fireworks in Goondiwindi in 1948, with the Lions Club taking on the project in 1967.