Web_tried-to-pleaseI write in response to the open letter from Lillian Brittain dated September 10 in relation to the double booking of Leongatha Memorial Hall on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 which involved an overlap of the Lyrebird Arts ‘Paul Kelly’ Concert and the set-up of the Daffodil and Floral Show. I hope that the information below provides a more complete understanding of the situation to assist those who have remaining concerns.

I am disappointed by some of your comments, specifically ‘Why did the shire not identify and resolve the double-booking problem in a positive and constructive way?’ – I am confident that the best resolution was achieved and a differing opinion does not conclude that a positive outcome was not reached. Council considered a number of issues before asking the Daffodil and Floral Show to consider delaying the opening of the event from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning. Council did not make a judgment call as to whether one event was more worthy than the other. Both events were significant and run by dedicated community volunteers – both groups made bookings and plans in good faith and council has already acknowledged the contractor’s error in allowing the double booking to occur and sincerely apologised for the disruptions made. The option faced by council was to either cancel the Lyrebird Arts Concert entirely or come to an amicable agreement with Horticultural Society to delay the opening of the Daffodil and Floral Show with the understanding that there would be minimal negative impact on the related Daffodil Festival events.

In coming to the decision to delay the festival opening, the council made a commitment to provide the necessary personnel and logistical support to assist your group and volunteers with the setup of the festival after the completion of the Lyrebird Arts Council concert. There is no question that council values its relationship with the Society and appreciates any assistance provided to the community. I strongly disagree that the agreement reached between the society and council ‘reflects a colossal lack of administrative judgment’. I feel the opposite – it reflects to me a strengthened relationship whereby mutually beneficial outcomes were reached, where council were able to work hands-on in partnership with the concert organisers and the festival volunteers to ensure two extremely successful and engaging events were available to the South Gippsland Community to enjoy. Council welcomes and acknowledges the co-operation shown by the society in solving an issue not of their making. We look forward to working with them and celebrating the ongoing success of the Festival for many years to come.

Tim Tamlin, CEO, South Gippsland Shire Council.