ENLIGHTENING: Jyllie Jackson's message to Lismore Council on news that Lantern Parade funding is to be cut. Inset, Elphie working for the dole on Rosie The Dinosaur at the Lantern Parade workshop.
ENLIGHTENING: Jyllie Jackson's message to Lismore Council on news that Lantern Parade funding is to be cut. Inset, Elphie working for the dole on Rosie The Dinosaur at the Lantern Parade workshop. Sophie Moeller

Parade founder works to shed light on icon

ELPHIE is working for the dole restoring Rosie The Dinosaur, one of the first lanterns ever created by Jyllie Jackson, founder of the Lismore Lantern Parade over 18 years ago.

When she filled out the forms at Centrelink she mentioned she wanted to do some creative; work with artists, but she never thought she’d be able to work for The Lantern Parade.

She says she is “surprised” at the decision at last week’s City Council meeting to downgrade its funding of the iconic event in favour of newer projects.

“I think we are very blessed to have Jyllie. She does such wonderful work and I think we should be supporting her. She works so hard and puts in so many hours for the city,” said Elphie.

At the meeting, a stoush erupted when Cr Vanessa Ekins moved an amendment to override the 2016-2018 Lismore Business Panel’s plan to contribute only $5000 for the trademark event this year, $2500 next year and zero the next. In the past, the event has been allocated $10,000 by the Special Business Rate Variation Levy’s pool of $360,000.

At the time, parade director, Jyllie, called it a “kick in the guts” for the burnt-out festival volunteers who work for free to bring light and love to the city, while the local economy benefit from their free labour to the tune of $3.8 million annually.

Cr Ekins said it was ‘a sad day’ for the unique event, which attracts media from around the world, with the financial contribution to the parade next year equating to the panel’s internal catering budget.

“I am told Lismore is a different town. Most people do not want CSG and they DO want artistic events like The Lantern Parade. So who are these people in the minority who make these decisions about Lismore?” said Elphie (pictured below).

Michael Haddin, chair of the business panel that allocates funds, justified the decision.

“We need to back new events,” he said.

The panel wants to contribute to new events for the first three to four years until they... become viable, he said.

New events could include a family-oriented New Year's Eve concert, a major music festival and something for the young.


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