Beef Week?s future on the table at a public meeting

By HELEN JACK

BEEF Week's future will be decided today when organisers, consultants and the community will meet and discuss the festival's future content and structure.

Everyone is invited to attend a facilitated workshop being held today at Casino's RSM Club from 12.30pm.

A community consultation will then be held from 6pm.

The battle to save Beef Week has factionalised into those who want it updated and revamped while others believe it should stay as it is.

If Beef Week is not about beef then what else could it be about?

When asked that question, Casino business people and residents were at first perplexed. "All we got is beef," said resident Neil Gillett.

"They have taken everything off us; we've got no airport, no train. What else could it be about? "The meatworks is Casino's biggest employer."

Casino Rural Traders owner Mark Fuhrmann said, as a farmer and beef producer himself, he felt Casino's festival needed to maintain its meaty theme.

"Keeping it about beef is vitally important," he said. Mr Fuhrmann said the main event, Cattle in the Street, was the defining image of the event.

"Cattle and beef; it's the main stay of the town," he said. "The sale yards have the largest through put in the state. When the farmers are doing well the town does well." Other business people in the town are not so sure.

Casino Cardz 'n Stuff owner Peter Hanley said losing the town's train service was regrettable and not just because of the loss of services to the town. He said a major theme around trains could have been incorporated into the event.

"We could bring in engines and go on trips and we could have spread the event around the region and not just centre it on Casino," Mr Hanley said.

"People come a long way to ride on a special train; it could travel the Border Loop, or go to Rappville and back or just have it on the Dyraaba Street line. The trains would only have to travel a few kilometres and back and people would come."

Another shop owner, who did not wish to be named, said Casino needed to attract people to the town all year round and not just during Beef Week.

"Casino needs something; the beef thing is finished," he said.

"I would like to see a continuing theme, like Glenn Innes' Celtic theme.

"Something that is there all year and which probably means getting all the shops painted and decorated along a similar theme." Call 6662 3566.



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