Growing Calls For Mardi Gras To Find Alternate Venue For Sunday’s Fair Day

Growing Calls For Mardi Gras To Find Alternate Venue For Sunday’s Fair Day
Image: Fair Day, Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras/Facebook

A Melbourne-based company spent over $8,000 for its debut at Fair Day on Sunday, including expenses for setting up a stall for the first time and flying it’s out LGBTQI employees to Sydney for the event that annually sees over 70,000 attendees.

The plans came crashing down on Wednesday morning, when the City of Sydney and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras announced it was cancelling Fair Day, after dangerous bonded asbestos was found in the mulch at Victoria Park, Broadway.

“We were looking at being at Fair Day since this would have been the first time the company would have been present at an LGBTQI event. Everyone was so excited,” an employee, who was not authorised to speak to the media, told Star Observer.

Cancellation To Impact Small Businesses

According to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association (SGLBA), the decision to cancel the event would impact many small businesses and it was “disappointed” an alternate venue to hold the event could not be found.

“The SGLBA understands the decision to cancel Fair Day due to environmental issues at Victoria Park. The health of the community must always come first,” the organisation said in a statement.

“This is a disappointing outcome for Sydney’s LGBTQIA+ community and will undoubtedly impact many small businesses that were supporting Mardi Gras and Fair Day. We are disappointed that an alternate location or date couldn’t be identified to minimise the costs to small businesses and other community organisations involved with Fair Day,” the SGLBA said.

Not Too Late To Relocate

The Greens said it was still not too late to relocate the event and called on the state’s Labor government to urgently find an alternate venue to ensure that the event could go ahead.

“Fair Day is a special day on the calendar for LGBTQIA+ communities so the news it will be cancelled due to the need for asbestos testing at Victoria Park will come as a massive blow,” Greens LGBTIQA+ spokesperson Amanda Cohn said.

While acknowledging that people’s safety was paramount, Cohn said the government could explore the possibility of facilitating the event at Henson Park, Camperdown Memorial Rest Park, Sydney Park, or King Street.

“It shouldn’t be the end of Fair Day. The NSW Government has the opportunity to show its commitment to diversity and inclusion by directly supporting the event’s relocation,” said Cohn, adding, “I acknowledge the massive amount of work gone into organising the event and how challenging a relocation will be but the event is too special not to try.”

Some organisations have, meanwhile, not waited for an official word on relocation and made their alternate plans.

Harbour City Bears posted on Facebook that they will go ahead with their Fair Day plans and have moved their stall to ‘The Townie’ – Town Hall Hotel along King Street in Newtown. “We will be having our own mini Fair Day there from noon,” the group said.

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