Dungog straining with sellout events

DUNGOG is punching above its weight to host major Hunter events but is facing a tightening strain, says a Dungog Shire Council report.

Councillors will consider a report tonight citing public transport and accommodation as limitations on the area hosting crowds of thousands.

The area has forged a reputation for large-scale events  with the Dungog Film Festival and October’s Mumford & Sons stopover festival.

The music event was a sellout success, drawing a crowd of 10,000.

General manager Craig Deasey advised councillors there were significant limits in the shire catering to events of such scale despite their obvious benefits for the area.

‘‘For a council that is so resource constrained, when staff become involved in events they are diverted from performing within their areas of responsibility,’’ Mr Deasey wrote.

Economic development and tourism co-ordinator Ivan Skaines said the town battled a single-track rail line, no public bus service and only a single taxi to host the huge crowds. 

Mr Skaines said the town was still supportive and promoted its ability to host the events but it was a strain.

‘‘The ideal model for our area is not one major annual event of 12,000 people in one town but a number of significant events over the year spread across the shire,’’ he said in the report.

 ‘‘It is very significant that the other towns and cities involved in the [Mumford & Sons] tour are much larger than Dungog.’’

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