Council cans Coogee’s biggest event

 In Events

Taste of Coogee is the Coogee Chamber of Commerce flagship event which has run since 2013. Its purpose is to bring people to Coogee and support local businesses. In 2020 Taste of Coogee was cancelled for lack of council support.

It was first held on Goldstein Reserve but grew too big for that spot. After negotiation with Council and the Randy Petes the event moved to Coogee Oval in 2016.

Coogee Oval is a safe, fenced venue which is owned by rates payers – perfect for one weekend a year between the rugby and cricket seasons.

However, in April 2020, Council voted to refuse the use of the oval. Reasons given were that it might pose safety concerns for cricketers but this was not elaborated on. The other mystery reason was that “paddle pop sticks emerged through the grass in December”. For an event in September, this seemed fanciful.

The chamber was offered Trennery Reserve – the dog park past Wylie’s Baths, up on the cliff. This venue is too small, has no parking or transport and is an unsafe location. Council has never used Trennery Reserve for a major event for all these reasons.

Taste of Coogee has paid $33K in fees to Council for 2019 alone. The event is not funded by ratepayers. Quite the opposite as council fees have made the event almost impossible to finance. Hooray for good weather on day two in 2019 which meant those fees were covered by the huge, wonderful attendance on a sunny Sunday.

The cricket pitch is fenced off for the event and any damage to entryways have always been paid for, repaired and signed off before cricket season. In 2019 this cost only $800 in repairs.

The Argentina vs Randwick invitation match the following weekend went ahead and after that, the cricket season launched without a hitch. Go the Randy Petes!

In 2017 and 2018, Taste of Coogee gave the Cricket Club a $10K donation, as negotiated by them. When this was not possible in 2019, thanks to council fees, the relationship between the chamber and the cricket club rapidly soured. Not so Randy Petes.

Coogee Oval is for all ratepayers. Not just sport. It’s for seniors, families. All of us. 2020 delivered the COVID-curveball and so it turns out that it’s a good year to take a break from a major event. Let’s work together for a fabulous 2021 event.

You can help bring Taste of Coogee back to Coogee Oval in 2021. Please let Mayor Danny Said know that the broader community would love to use the oval for one weekend a year. His email address is [email protected] or take the survey by clicking here.

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