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Friday, February 11, 2011

MBRC - All Questions And No Answers - Woodfordia Is Broke

Mayor Alan Sutherland at Woodfordia
  The Woodford Folk Festival site is broke and Moreton Bay Regional Council has shown an interest in buying it.

  101.5fm broke the news earlier this week (click here to see), reporting that the Moreton Bay Regional Councillors had agreed to start investigating the purchase of the site.

  The Woodford Folk Festival site is called Woodfordia and is run under a not for profit organisation, the Australian Folk Federation (AFF), with the Executive Director and founder Bill Hauritz at the helm.

  The site hosts a number of high profile yearly events including The Woodford Folk Festival, Dreaming (one of the country's biggest Indigenous festivals), Planting and temporarily Splendour In The Grass.

  It is estimated by Council about $40 million is injected into the local economy each year as a result of these events being held, including Splendour In The Grass which contibutes close to $18 million. 

  The AFF has been the recipient of numerous funding grants and arrangements from Council, State and Federal Governments over recent years. The finances of the AFF have been under question for some time now.

  Yesterday 101.5fm approached Mayor Allan Sutherland for an interview, seeking answers to a number of questions. Initially Mr Sutherland agreed and said he would like to do an interview but later avoided us. 

Question we had for Mr Sutherland yesterday:

You and the Council are investigating the possibility of purchasing the Woodfordia site also known as the Woodford Folk Festival site. Why is this?

What benefits do you expect this to give back to the community?

Is any of this dependent on Splendour In The Grass staying at Woodfordia?

Are you expecting any State Government funds to be injected into this venture?

The Caboolture Urban Country Music Festival has just been recently relocated because of the building happening in the Caboolture CBD. Is there a possibility it could have a permanent home at Woodfordia?

Further questions for Mr Sutherland:

Is the intention that the Council simply 'play' landlord if the purchase goes through or will the Council want to be a part of the day to day running of Woodfordia?

What will Bill Hauritz's role be in Woodfordia after it is sold?

The private sector has failed with this project. What makes you think that the Council can do it better and can you guarantee this won't become a rate payer black hole?

Does Council preference internal wish list projects and events over community projects and events, such as the one the Abbey Museum are seeking funding for, and will these other community organisations or events be further disadvantaged with so much Council money going to Woodfordia? 

  Let us know what you think. Below are comments online relating to the above mentioned subjects (Keep coming back as these are updated):

Woodfordia up for Sale...Council looking to purchase.....don't mean to be cynical BUT....... at least I can now understand all the penny's for a reason