Calls for midnight fireworks in Newcastle on New Year’s Eve are growing stronger after Newcastle deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen declared it an event that “has to be explored”.
Speaking from the New Year’s Eve celebrations at Newcastle Foreshore on Sunday night, Cr Clausen gave an indication that a return to a midnight display would be considered by council if additional funding could be secured.
“There's been a lot of comment in the last few days about the need for Newcastle to host a midnight fireworks and I think that is something that absolutely has to be explored,” he said.
“But we need to be up front and honest that this evening has cost ratepayers $190,000. I think that's an absolutely worthwhile investment, but we just need to be cognizant of who pays if we were to extend.
“I'm hopeful that there might be other agencies who are able to chip in to make that a success in future years.”
Last Friday, the Herald reported Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp was continuing his push for a midnight display and had written to the state government to see if there were any possible funding opportunities.
The NSW Labor MP also wrote to Newcastle City Council CEO Jeremy Bath, who called on Mr Crakanthorp to use Community Building Partnerships money to fund a midnight show in 2018.
“I acknowledge that Newcastle families appreciate the 9pm show and I am supportive of this remaining the main event,” Mr Crakanthorp said.
“Newcastle has a unique opportunity to attract thousands of additional visitors and tourists back to the city on New Year’s Eve, which would be a huge boost to our nighttime economy.”
The only midnight edition of nine displays held in the Hunter this year was at Harrigan’s Irish Pub in Pokolbin.
The last midnight fireworks in Newcastle were held in 2012 before council opted to focus on a "family-friendly” spectacle in the 9pm time slot for the following year.
Organisers of the 2017 celebrations had a strong focus on ensuring there was a host of activities in place at the Queen’s Wharf precinct for New Year’s Eve crowds, activating five separate spaces to incorporate live music, interactive games and a specialised disabilities area.
Cr Clausen acknowledged the need to keep people activated if a midnight display was to return, along with extending suitable transport options.
“It's fair, we are an emerging global city and it's something that cities of our size do,” Cr Clausen said.
“It just requires extra preparation, you've got to make sure you've got something for people to do during those three hours between the 9 o'clock and midnight fireworks, and then different plans to make sure people can leave the city safely.
“Clearly, the park and ride success from this evening is a good indication that Novocastrians are willing to try something a bit different.
“Hence, if we were to expand to midnight in future years, I'd like to hope that will continue to grow and more and more people can make use of that to get in and out of the event safely.”