Neighbouring Busselton and Margaret River councils have agreed Yallingup Surfilm Festival funding was more likely to be forthcoming if the event was held in the off-season.
The two local governments acknowledged the event’s ability to draw visitors to the Capes region, but said the January timing was at an already peak tourism period.
City of Busselton community and commercial services director NaomiSearle said the 2012 festival received funding, subject to future funding applications then reflecting off-peak season dates.
“Festival organisers were informed of this on a number of occasions, including verbally when presentations were made to council,” she said.
For the 2013 event, the City’s Marketing and Events Reference group had recommended the council could provide $16,000 to the festival if it was held in June, July or August.
Organisers were told $7000 would be offered if the event was held in December or February, but no funds were available for alternative months.
Ms Searle said the council did not support an application to hold the event on the Australia Day long weekend.
“In order to recognise the City’s vision of being the events capital of regional WA, a key recommendation of the strategy is to attract events and tourists to the region on a year-round basis, thus increasing the economic impact the tourism industry has on the region,” Ms Searle said.
Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council chief executive Gary Evershed said organisers’ funds application to host the January in the Shire of Margaret River proved unsuccessful.
Mr Evershed said the festival was scheduled when tourism service providers were at close to capacity and was not expected to bring significant new visitation or economic activity.
He said organisers had more hope of funding if they changed the timing, moved the event to Margaret River, and promoted under the town brand.