Beef Week off the menu

The townsfolk of Casino are cheesed off with the news that Beef Week is off the menu this year.

The board of the Beef Week Promotions Committee resolved not to hold the festival this year despite community concern at a meeting last Monday.

Offers of help and additional sponsorship for a streamlined program were rejected by the board. Beef Week president Terry Serone said the decision had been extremely difficult to make, but dwindling sponsorship and an ever diminishing number of volunteers left the board no other option.

This decision was not made lightly, Mr Serone said. Board members have spent sleepless nights agonising over it. But with no prospect of attracting more volunteer helpers and with sponsorship dollars drying up, we did not want to damage the reputation of the festival we all love by running a second-rate event.

Casino mayor Charlie Cox was disappointed in the final decision.

I felt that a reasonable program had been put up and considerable sponsorship was coming, he said. However, the positive thing is that there has been a resurgence of indications of support this has been a serious wake-up call.

Mr Cox said at least one school in Casino planned to hold its own Beef Week celebrations in spite of the premier events cancellation.

At its meeting the following day Richmond Valley Council expressed continuing support to help organisers develop a business plan to establish Beef Week as the towns signature event in future.

Northern Cooperative Meat Company chairman Peter Carlill was amongst those unhappy with the decision.

Im disappointed that the board of Beef Week didnt give the town a chance to hold Beef Week despite being offered a new program, new sponsors and more volunteers, Mr Carlill said. The Northern Cooperative Meat Company has sponsored it since its inception and we were keen to give our support. I believe we could have had a Beef Week this year.

Beef Week committee member Therese Schier said she believed the boards decision did not reflect the views of the wider community.

Whilst last Mondays vote endorsed the boards decision, which was supported 19 to 10, only 29 financial members out of around 60 people in attendance were eligible to vote, Ms Schier said. I felt sorry for representatives from local service clubs and community members who were present and who heard accusations from the board that Beef Week doesnt have enough volunteers. Not only do these people volunteer every year along with scores of others who run events, but they use Beef Week as their major fundraising effort of the year and will now be denied this source of income for 2007.

Mr Serone said a public meeting to discuss the prospects of a Beef Week for 2008 will be held at the Casino RSM Club on April 16 at 7.30pm. Ms Schier urged people to attend and show the board there were plenty of people keen to help make the festival a success.

Well all be in there to make 2008 a top Beef Week, Mr Carlill said.

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