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9.30 fireworks fallout

04 Feb 2013

9.30 fireworks fallout Image

Visitors and locals were disappointed by the absence of the 9.30 pm family fireworks in Docklands on New Year’s Eve.

According to Jenny Wheatley from Snowbird Frozen Yoghurt, groups of locals and visitors were waiting in Docklands for the family fireworks, unaware the event had been cancelled.

“After 9.30 pm visitors wandered into the store quite upset because they had been waiting a good four or five hours for the fireworks and were unaware they had been cancelled,” Ms Wheatley said.

Others criticised “inappropriate” music levelled at a largely family audience while some observers commented on how difficult it was to find fast food and refreshments to buy on the night.

Melbourne’s councillors approved the cancellation of the fireworks at a closed meeting in September last year.

According to the City of Melbourne the cancellation was necessary due to the potential for a crowd crush incident when people leaving the 9.30 pm display met those coming into Docklands for the midnight fireworks.

Despite persistent lobbying from Docklands, council did not overturn its decision to cancel the fireworks.

Docklands Community Association president Roger Gardner was part of the unsuccessful attempt to lobby for the reinstatement of the family fireworks.

He said he suspected it was a cost element, rather than safety concerns, that had led to the cancellation.

Mr Gardner said while there were plenty of people in Docklands on New Year’s Eve he had noticed fewer families than in previous years.

According to a City of Melbourne spokesperson, the New Year’s Eve attendance figures are not yet available.

The spokesperson also said council would continue to use the new format in future years.

“The 9.30 pm early eve event at Docklands was removed from the format due to the public safety risk created by the early eve and midnight New Year’s Eve crowds crossing over. We do not plan to reinstate this event in the future,” the spokesperson said.

Despite the disappointment over the cancellation of the 9.30 pm fireworks, locals and visitors enjoyed entertainment on the Piazza stage at NewQuay along with dress-ups and face painting.

Fireworks were launched from a barge in Victoria Harbour at midnight.

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