Maitland City Council has the chance to make New Year's Eve celebrations even better | Editorial

It’s the one night each year when communities across the globe celebrate and it sounds as though Maitland’s festivities are only going to get better in the coming years.

This week, Maitland councillors discussed expanding the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations to the other side of the Hunter River, so people can enjoy the evening from the Lorn riverbank and have the proper amenities to ensure they have a good time.

Young revelers ring in the new year in 2015-16.

Young revelers ring in the new year in 2015-16.

The councillors decided to allocate an extra $10,000 to the New Year’s Eve budget for the coming years, starting with the 2017 event.

It came after a council report noted that more and more people were choosing to watch the annual fireworks from Lorn each year.

The program will be family-friendly and is expected to include amusements, rides, a kids’ disco, face painting, balloon sculpting, totem tennis games and craft activities for children.

There will also be a range of food, drinks, general stalls and music – as usual.

This won’t just be welcome news for Hunter residents from the Lorn side of the Belmore Bridge, it will also mean people from across the city, as well as visitors, will have another option as to where they ring-in the new year.

Considering last year’s event attracted an estimated 10,000 people, this makes perfect sense.

Cr Peter Garnham thinks that even more money, beyond the extra $10,000 a year, should be spent on New Year’s Eve in Maitland.

“We will need extra security, extra toilets and two separate areas will have to be maintained,” Cr Garnham said at this week’s council meeting, where the matter was discussed.

All too often, the business of council is that of the necessary (but arguably not as thrilling) triumvirate of roads, rates and rubbish.

But for this region’s sense of community spirit and pride in the city, it’s important that our council uses some of its resources to improve events like the city’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza. 

Many of us across the Lower Hunter already know that Maitland City Council is exceptional at putting on events – think Taste, Aroma and Riverlights.

So it’s exciting to think that the city will throw more money at the New Year’s Eve festivities.